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Archive for the ‘Quantitative data’ Category

The journal Other Education has just published an article Rob Kunzman and I wrote together titled, “Homeschooling: A Comprehensive Survey of the Research.”  It is the culmination of years of work by both of us compiling every piece of research on homeschooling ever written, culling through them all to select the best material, organizing them into coherent categories, and writing up the results.

Several months ago I reviewed Joseph Murphy’s excellent book Homeschooling in America: Capturing and Assessing the Movement, which is a very thorough review of the scholarly literature.  Our article is not nearly so long as Dr. Murphy’s book and thus it lacks some of the detail he provides.  Anyone interested in homeschooling research should read his book cover to cover and keep it on the shelf for frequent reference.  But despite its length and depth of coverage, there are some topics and a few key studies Dr. Murphy leaves out, and he sometimes fails to differentiate between high and low quality studies or between studies published recently and those published decades ago.  I think our article provides even more breadth and does a better job discriminating between sources.  Plus you can download it for free!  Do so here.

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This post reviews R. Pennings, et al., “A Rising Tide Lifts all Boats: Measuring Non-Government School Effects in Service of the Canadian Public Good” (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 2012).  Available for free download here.

Back in 2011 I reviewed the first Cardus Survey, which provided rare randomly sampled data about young adults who had been homeschooled in the United States.  This new study does the same for Canada.  In the first study the Cardus researchers uncovered some fascinating information about adult homeschoolers, some of which proved rather controversial because it was not very flattering toward homeschooling.

This new study’s results are fairly similar.  The study is about much more than homeschooling, but since this is a blog about homeschooling research I will limit my comments to the homeschooling findings. (more…)

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This post reviews Joseph Murphy, Homeschooling in America: Capturing and Assessing the Movement (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2012).

Murphy, Associate Dean at Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University and author of many, many books and articles on a wide range of topics, here provides a remarkable synthesis of nearly the entire corpus of homeschooling research published from the 1980s to the present.

(more…)

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This post reviews Alissa Cordner, “The Health Care Access and Utilization of Homeschooled Children in the United States” in Social Science and Medicine 75 (2012): 269-273.

Cordner, a graduate student in sociology at Brown University, here offers her first foray into homeschooling research.  She used the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), a government phone survey of over 91,000 households randomly sampled from the national population.  The NSCH asked families about the kind of schooling the child being reported on attended, including homeschooling, so Cordner’s got great data from which to draw conclusions. (more…)

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About 2 and a half years ago I posted all the available data provided by the various states that keep records on homeschooling enrollment figures (I recognize that some homeschoolers don’t like the term “enrollment,” but for the states that’s what this is).  I explained then that this information is notoriously unreliable for at least three reasons:  1. data collection is haphazard, varying widely by state, by district within a state, and from year-to-year, 2. the figures provided by some states don’t account for homeschoolers who may choose to do so by, say, registering as private schools, and 3. some homeschoolers simply refuse to register with the state and hence are not included in these tallies.

Despite these shortcomings I was interested at the time in this statewide data because of a discrepancy I was noting between my own subjective impressions of a slowing down of homeschooling growth here in Pennsylvania even as the National Center for Education Statistics had just come out with their latest estimates showing a dramatic increase in homeschooling nationwide since 2003.

My first effort to generalize from this state data led me to conclude that as of 2007, eight states were seeing growth, six were basically flat, and three were seeing declines.  I also noted that for the most part the states that were seeing growth were “Red,” or Republican-leaning states, and those that were either holding steady or declining were mostly “Blue,” or Democrat-leaning.

Well, now that two more years have passed, what has happened?  (more…)

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This post reviews Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010).

This book has been on my pile for a while and I finally got the chance over the holidays to crack it.  Putnam is widely known as the author of the landmark 2001 book Bowling Alone, which is largely responsible for making the phrase “social capital” as popular as it has become.  This new book, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, is every bit as interesting and based on better data.  It ably synthesizes a vast array of surveys and other sources to provide a reliable and fascinating look at trends in American religion from the 1950s to today.

There’s nothing explicit in it about homeschooling, but chapter five, entitled “Switching, Matching, and Mixing” provides evidence to help elucidate one of the most important questions homeschooling research can ask, and one of the hardest to answer.  The great majority of homeschoolers choose the practice at least in part to stack the deck in favor of their children turning out like themselves, especially in terms of religious belief and moral standards.  Does it work?

(more…)

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This post reviews Ray Pennings, et. al.,  Cardus Education Survey (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 2011)  [available here]

Phase 1 of the Cardus Education Survey was released a few weeks ago and has garnered significant national attention for its insights into private Christian schooling.  Though not the report’s major emphasis, it also includes some very interesting information about homeschooling.  (more…)

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This post reviews Sandra Martin-Chang, Odette N. Gould, and Reanne E. Meuse, “The Impact of Schooling on Academic Achievement: Evidence from Homeschooled and Traditionally Schooled Children.” Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 43, no. 3 (July 2011): 195-202.

The authors of this study of 74 children, half homeschooled, half institutionally schooled, conclude that structured homeschooling is best, public schooling next, and unstructured homeschooling worst at producing high levels of academic achievement.  (more…)

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This post reviews Michael F. Cogan, “Exploring Academic Outcomes of Homeschooled Students” in Journal of College Admission 208: 18-25(2010). Read the full article here.

Cogan acknowledges the lack of satisfactory, empirical research concerning homeschooled students’ academic achievements and/or outcomes at the collegiate level. In an effort to correct the deficiency, he compares the academic outcomes (or academic standing as evidenced by comparative GPAs) of homeschooled students to those of traditionally-educated students enrolled at a mid-sized doctoral institution in the Midwest. (more…)

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