Parents’ education levels are no barrier to achieving homeschooling success an expert said as record numbers of American families turn to the alternative education pathway seeking a safer more stable learning environment for their children amidst the pandemic.
Jeremy Newman, the Texas homeschool coalition’s public policy director, told The Epoch Times that it does not matter whether a parent has a GED or a Ph.D. Statistically, the homeschool parent’s education does not affect the outcomes of the students.
“A lot of people find that hard to believe. But I think it’s actually intuitive when you realize that the biggest factor in a student’s success is their learning environment,” Newman said.
“Having a Ph.D. is not the prerequisite to being a homeschool parent, because there are so many different resources that you can tap into to bring the actual knowledge in, and your main job is to help facilitate the learning environment,” he said.
Statistically, the learning outcomes of homeschooled children are better than those in the public school system. The National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) states on its website that homeschooled students usually score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests.
In his experience, Newman said those figures are higher with students attaining 25 to 35 percentile points above the public school students. Meaning, he said that homeschool students “normally score in the 75th percentile to 85th percentile on pretty much all subjects,” and that is regardless of the parents’ academic levels.
“And so just from a numbers perspective, you can say that it would appear that the learning environment fostered by homeschooling gives my child a much greater chance to succeed,” Newman said.
“It’s not a silver bullet. And it’s not like you can walk in and not do any work. And it’s just a plug-and-play thing where your student walks in and comes out great. That’s not how it works. There’s a lot of effort involved. But the point is, it’s worth it.”
Essentially a traditional form of parent-led home-based education homeschooling focuses on adapting to the students’ style of learning. It is argued to be one of the fastest-growing forms of schooling in America.
Currently, NHERI estimates that in 2019 4 to 5 million U.S. students—from grades K-12—were homeschooled with an annual growth rate of 2 percent to 8 percent per annum. That figure jumped in 2020 to 9 million.
Homeschooling is also rapidly growing in popularity among minority groups with NHERI figures stating 41 percent of homeschool families are non-white/non-Hispanic.
Newman said he believes this is because the public education sector is currently undergoing a reckoning as parents realize there is a different pathway to managing their children’s education with the advent of remote learning and part-time homeschooling options now available in many states due to the pandemic.
“A lot of people discover that the stability and flexibility that is offered in homeschooling is something that actually helps them solve problems elsewhere in their lives, like scheduling problems you have,” he said.
The EdWeek Research Centre reported in November 2020 that 58 percent of principals and superintendents surveyed by the Centre noted that homeschooling is driving enrollment declines in schools and districts across the country.
One of those families belongs to Jenny Walsh, of Williamsville, New York. Walsh, who has a masters degree in special education believes that her children found homeschooling a faster pace of learning says the report. It also offers a more relaxed, more engaged day.
“We can finish academics by 11, and have more time for interest-based learning,” Walsh said.
For parents who a considering moving to homeschooling, Newman suggested they first figure out the rules around homeschooling in their state and contact a home school community group in their area.
Then Newman suggested they start small and scale the learning program up.
“Don’t feel like you have to go from zero to 60 at once,” he said. “Start small and figure out a few things that you want to start with that total to a few hours a day, and test it out and figure out what works. Keep the pieces that work and get rid of the pieces that don’t and bring in new stuff to try it out.”