Study Finds Home Schooled Children Better at Social Skills
By Dawn Rizzoni
October 23, 2001
(CNSNews.com) - Despite a 1999 statement from the National
Education Association that, "home schooling cannot provide the
student with a comprehensive education experience," a study
released earlier this month shows home-schooled students are
actually more socially and academically advanced than their peers.
Patrick Basham, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of
the study, said the findings "aren't surprising in intellectual
terms, but it does turn the major anecdotal opposition to home
schooling - that it produces social retards - on its head."
The study by the Fraser Institute, an independent public policy
organization based in Vancouver, Canada, focused on home-schooled
students in North America. According to the study's findings, the
typical home-schooled child is more mature, friendly, happy,
thoughtful, competent, and better socialized than students in public
or private schools.
They are also less peer dependent and exhibit "significantly
higher" self-esteem, according to the study.
But Janet Bass, a representative of The American Federation of
Teachers, said it's impossible to compare home schooling with
"They're two totally different environments," she said,
adding that there's no comparison to children in school to children
"at home with mommy." As long as the right programs are in
place, "you'll get good results" no matter what the
environment, Bass said.
The study's findings come as no surprise to those who home school
their children. Belinda Mooney, mother of seven and editor of the
home schooling website, LearningTreasures.com, has been teaching her
children at home for the past 16 years.
"Home schoolers have been surpassing public schools in test
scores since the beginning, and ... the fact that they surpass them
socially is no surprise, either," said Mooney. "Life
itself is about socialization and getting along with others. We do
what interests our family and the socialization part comes
Among other activities, the Mooney children are involved with their
church, participate in sports and dance, take part in a weekly
reading group, and perform in a gymnastics program. They also belong
to a local home school group that provides opportunities for social
"This month, the children went to a local festival, went on a
hayride and pumpkin picking field trip and are going to be going to
... a colonial enactment village," Mooney said.
As for the controversy over socialization and schooling, Mooney
thinks it's completely overrated.
"I always thought (socialization) was the most ridiculous
question anyway," she said. "Who sends their kids to
school to be socialized? And who wants the negative socialization
skills they learn at school? Not me!"
The study by The Fraser Institute also found that home-schooled
children regularly outperform other students academically. Overall
test scores for home schoolers were between the 75th and 85th
percentiles, while public school students scored in the 50th
percentile and private school students' scores ranged from the 65th
to 75th percentiles.
Home schoolers also surpass the national average on both of the
standard college entrance exams, the ACT and the SAT.
"Almost one quarter of home-schooled students perform one or
more grades above their age level peers in public and private
schools," said Basham. Indeed, the study cited findings that by
Grade 8, the average home-schooled student performs four grade
levels above the national average.
Chris Klicka, Senior Counsel for the Home School Legal Defense
Association and author of "Home Schooling: The Right
Choice," said he thinks the study will help combat the myths
surrounding socialization and home schoolers.
"Public support is crucial to the advancement and acceptance of
the home schooling movement," Klicka said. "People need to
be aware of the facts rather than react to their prejudices."
Basham agrees. "If the callers to the radio shows I've been on
... and the senders of email to me on this subject are
representative of the interested public, then this study has the
potential to seriously stimulate debate regarding the accuracy of
the major negative stereotypes surrounding home schooling," he
Dec. 7 1941
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