Bibliography of scholarly research on home schooling

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Updated 27 January 2006.

Note to homeschoolers

I began this bibliography by reflex: I wanted to know what the facts are, and I started by looking in the scholarly literature. I hope that this page is useful to researchers in other fields who are looking for peer-reviewed articles on homeschooling and homeschoolers. I hope that it is also useful to homeschoolers who want to go beyond the glossy magazine articles.

I want to warn homeschoolers that most of these papers are from the educational establishment that most of us are trying to distance ourselves from. The research is done and the papers are written to satisfy the researcher's personal curiosity, and also to get a degree or tenure or reputation in the field. Be aware that many professional educators have world views inimical to homeschooling. I believe that authors whose work I have linked to are ethical: they will report accurately what they find. However, their preconceptions will shape what they look for, and how they analyse what they find. One example of this may be found in Chatham-Carpenter's work: she is disturbed that homeschooled children are less dependent on other children.

I think that the information in these studies can be useful to homeschoolers in several ways: it can inform us on the state of mind of the education and social science professionals, it can arm us with facts for factual argument, and it can satisfy our curiosity.

I do not believe that scholarly research is directly useful in increasing our freedom to educate our children or in meeting attacks on that freedom. Freedom in education, like freedom in any other area, is a political matter, and political issues are decided by emotion, by publicity and by education, not by logical, scholarly argument. I want to caution us all against relying upon mere facts in political debate. We can use these resources here to make sure of our facts, but we will win in the political arena by being seen by the public, often and in a favorable light, and most of all by being active: by working effectively for candidates who support our freedom, and telling them why we are working for them.

Many of the research-oriented bibliographies available on the web seem to be badly dated. Most of these seem to have been copied from the MIT home-ed FAQ.
I'm trying to fill this with links to research and data which is available and up-to-date.

Articles available on the web.


Sites with data

Interesting but off-topic

Demographics of Homeschoolers

General Research

Two New articles, 27 January 2006, on homeschooling special needs children. My thanks to Dr. Duval, for pointing me to his articles.

Homeschooler's Achievments


Offline information

Specific to Alaska

Journals (offline)

Demographics of Homeschoolers (offline)

General Research, Offline

HomeSchoolers as Adults

Homeschooler's Achievments (offline)


Child Development

Case Law Pertaining to Homeschooling

Useful Links

Do you know of an article I should list?

Tell me about it!
Article title:     
Most appropriate classification:
Article's URL:
Brief description of article.

Articles available on the web.


These are online journals with at least some homeschool content.

Home School Researcher is a peer-reviewed journal, but I suspect that it is not considered top-tier by the education establishment. It is not available online, but there is an index for Homeschool Researcher through 1998. A link to their subscription information is below.

Educational Policy Analysis is an online journal with some homeschool-related content. Most of that content is linked to below.

Sites with data

National Center for Educational Statistics has data and research articles. Some of it pertains to homeschooling.

120 Years of American Education: A Statistical Portrait Only indirectly related to homeschooling, but useful if you want to know what went on before we got into our current situation.

Description: This publication contains statistical trends of elementary, secondary, and higher education institutions. Text and charts describe historical shifts in educational attainment, enrollment, staff, degrees and finance.

Interesting but off-topic

The Education Freedom Index by Jay P. Greene.
This article ranks the states on an index of educational freedoms, and shows that states which allow their citizens more freedom have better outcomes. ``Put simply, states with more education freedom have higher average student achievement.'' and ``... we constructed a simple model that uses the Education Freedom Index scores to predict student achievement in each state, controlling for the percentage of minorities in each state, median household income in each state, per pupil spending on education, and the average class size. ... Even after controlling for these other factors, EFI is a significant predictor of student achievement. The study does include number of homeschoolers and the restrictions placed upon them in the factors it uses to rank the states.
Lack of Formal Schooling and the Aquisition of Conservation By Egon Mermelstein and Lee S. Shulman in Child Development 1967;38:39-52
Abstract: The performances of Negro 6- and 9-year-old children form Prince Edward County, Virginia, a community which had been without public schools for 4 years, on a series of Piagetian conservation tasks, were compared with those of Negro children from a community which had had regular schooling. 3 techniques of questioning the children were experimentally varied. Findings revealed generally no significant differences attributable to effects of non-schooling, except within one questioning condition. Differences between verbal and non-verbal tasks were found to be highly significant. Implications for the Piagetian theory of cognitive development and for the method ology of conservation experiments are discussed.
This is interesting to homeschoolers, because it shows that schooling didn't change black youngsters' aquisition of ``conservation'', the ability to compare quantities. This suggests that early schooling doesn't help children learn skills.

How Markets Affect Quality by Andrew J. Coulson. Chapter in Educational Freedom in America: Brown v. Board After Half a Century''.

A comparison of free-market and government education systems around the world, using current data to investigate their relative performance. The author is using this piece to push his version of tax credits, but it is valuable for what it tells us about the wisdom of relying upon public schools as our primary method of educating children.

Anti-Intellectualism in U.S. Schools by Aimee Howley, Edwina D. Pendarvis, Craig B. Howley

Abstract: In this essay we present an argument about the relationship between schools' intellectual mission and their role in advancing social justice. In providing an argument of this sort, we claim neither to present a comprehensive review of literature nor to analyze specific educational policies. Rather, we bring together findings about certain features of schools in the United States that we believe contribute to their anti-intellectualism. This examination allows us to tell a story about schools that we think needs to be told; and it also elaborates a frame of reference from which to reconsider schools' mission and practice. Reframing these bases of schooling may be a necessary prelude to educational policies that promote both intellectual and egalitarian outcomes.
An Exploration of the Pay Levels Needed to Attract Students with Mathematics, Science and Technology Skills to a Career in K-12 Teaching by Anthony Milanowski
Abstract In an exploratory study (Note 1) of the role of salary level and other factors in motivating undergraduate math, science, and technology majors to consider a career as a K-12 teacher, the salary level students said would motivate them to consider a career in teaching was related to the salary expected in their chosen non-teaching occupation, but not to three of the Big 5 personality dimensions of extroversion, agreeableness, and openness, nor concern for others or career risk aversion. An annual starting salary 45% above the local average would attract 48% of the sophomore students and 37% of the juniors. Focus group results suggested that low pay was an important reason for not considering K-12 teaching, but that perceived job demands and abilities and interests were also important reasons for not being attracted to a teaching career.

Demographics of Homeschoolers

Homeschoolers: Estimating Numbers and Growth 1999 by Patricia M. Lines
Abstract The author discusses the practical difficulties of estimating the number of homeschooling families and homeschooled children using the available data. She outlines sources of bias, and shows that most of them bias estimates downwards. She attempts to quantify the bias. It is beyond doubt that the number of homeschoolers is large and growing.
Home Schooling: School Choice and Women's Time Use December 2002 Eric Isenberg
Abstract Home schooling has grown rapidly and now comprises over two percent of school children. I model home schooling choice using household-level data from the 1996 and 1999 National Household Education Survey and, in a separate model, district-level data from Wisconsin. For families living in metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), the likelihood of home schooling for high-income parents increases as academic school quality decreases; for low-income parents, as the percentage of school funds spent at the local level decreases. Outside MSAs, home schooling is popular among evangelical Protestants, although through peer effects or political influence the elasticity of home schooling demand with respect to the local percentage of evangelical Protestants decreases globally. Household characteristics are also important. The likelihood of home schooling increases when a mother's time budget is expanded by extra members of the household. The presence of a husband contributes strongly to the likelihood of home schooling outside MSAs, but inside MSAs married couples exiting the public school system have a greater tendency to substitute to private schools. Despite paying a higher implicit tuition, highly educated women are more likely to home school younger children. Their children tend to return to school in later grades.
Home Schooling in the United States: Trends and Characteristics by Kurt J. Bauman, U.S. Census Bureau
Abstract Home schooling is a subject of great fascination, but little solid knowledge. Despite its importance, it has received less research attention than some other recent changes in the educational system, such as the growth of charter schools. It could be argued that home schooling may have a much larger impact on educational system, both in the short and long run. This report uses the 1994 October CPS, and the National Household Education Survey of 1996 and 1999 to examine popular characterizations of the home school population. The article assembles evidence from several sources to confirm that home schooling is growing. It finds home-schooled children more likely to be middle income, white, from larger families, and from two-parent families with one parent not working. While some authors have described a division between religiously-motivated and academically-motivated home schoolers, this research finds more support for a divide based on attitude towards regular schools.
Modeling School Choice: A Comparison of Public, Private-Independent, Private-Religious and Home-Schooled Students June 2002 by Clive R. Belfield
Abstract US students now have four choices of schooling: public schooling, private-religious schooling, private-independent schooling, and home-schooling. Of these, home-schooling is the most novel: since legalization across the states in the last few decades, it has grown in importance and legitimacy as an alternative choice. Thus, it is now possible to investigate the motivation for home-schooling, relative to the other schooling options. Here, we use two recent large-scale datasets to assess the school enrollment decision: the first is the National Household Expenditure Survey (1999), and the second is micro-data on SAT test-takers in 2001. We find that, generally, families with home-schoolers have similar characteristics to those with children at other types of school, but mother's characteristics - specifically, her employment status - have a strong influence on the decision to home-school. Plausibly, religious belief has an important influence on the schooling decision, not only for Catholic students, but also those of other faiths.
Homeschooling in the United States: 1999 by Stacey Bielick, Kathryn Chandler, and Stephen Broughman
Description: In the spring of 1999, an estimated 850,000 students nationwide were being homeschooled. This report, based on data from the Parent Survey of the National Household Education Survey Program, 1999, contains information about the characteristics of homeschooled children and their families, parent's reasons for homeschooling, and public school support for homeschoolers.
Home Schooling in the United States: Trends and Characteristics by Kurt J. Bauman
ABSTRACT According to widely-repeated estimates, as many as two million American children are schooled at home, with the number growing as much as 15 to 20 percent per year. At the same time, however, home schooling has received little attention compared with other recent changes in the educational system, such as the growth of charter schools. It could be argued that home schooling may have a much larger impact on educational system, both in the short and long run.

This report uses the 1994 October CPS, and the National Household Education Survey of 1996 and 1999 to determine the extent of home schooling. It presents social, demographic and geographic characteristics of households that engage in home schooling and examines the potential for future growth. It is found that home schooling is less prevalent than shown in earlier estimates, but that the potential for growth is large.

Issues Related to Estimating the Home-Schooled Population in the United States with National Household Survey Data U.S. Census Bureau
Description: This report compares two studies that have yielded disparate estimates of the rate of home schooling in the United States. The analysis focuses on the methodology used in the 1996 National Household Education Survey and the 1994 Current Population Survey, with particular emphasis on potential sources of error in estimating the home-schooled population.

General Research

New Homeschool Instructional Environments for Students With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Steven F. Duvall, Joseph C. Delquadri, D. Lawrence Ward


An exploratory study that involved two male and two female elementary students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was carried out in homeschools and public schools. The general purpose of the study was to determine whether parents could provide instructional environments that facilitated the acquisition of their children’s basic skills over time. Students were observed using the Mainstream Version of the Code for Instructional Structure and Student Academic Response (MS-CISSAR), an eco-behavioral direct classroom observation instrument that produces information on ecological, teacher, and student behavior processes. Pre and post standardized achievement test scores and rate-based measures were analyzed to determine gains in reading and math for all students. The results indicated that homeschool students were academically engaged about two times as often as public school students and experienced more reading and math gains. The key variable appeared to involve student to teacher ratios that existed between the two settings.

New An Exploratory Study of Home School Instructional Environments and Their Effects on the Basic Skills of Students with Learning Disabilities

Steven F Duval, Ward, D. L., Delquadri, J. C., & Greenwood, C. R.


An exploratory study that involved six elementary and two junior high school students with learnign disabilities was carried out in home schools and school district special education programs. The general purpose of the stury was to determine whether parents, who were not certified as professional educators, provided students with instructional environments that facillitated the acquisition of basic skills. The instructional processes and products of students who were taught at home by parents (n=4) were compared to students taught by professional teachers and staff (n=4). A continuous baseline probe design was used to compare active academic engagement levels in both groups and determine relationships to academic gains over time. Students in each group were observed seven time using the MS-CISSAR, an eco-behavioral direct classroom observation instrument that produces information on ecological, teacher, and student behavior processes. Pre and post standardized achievement test scores and rate-based measures were analyzed to determine gains in reading, math, and written language for both groups. The results indicated that home school students were academically engaged about 2 1/2 times as often as public school students. Furthermore, home school students made more progress in reading and written language, and equal gains in math. By showing that parents can create powerful instructional environments for their children at home, this study clearly indicates the need to determine whether home schools in general are as effective as those observed during this investigation.

HOMESCHOOLING OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS Neil Plotnick May 2004 This is a grad student's term paper. I'm including it because it seems to fill a hole. I hope Mr. Plotnick will continue with this work, and get it published.

This study examines the pedagogical strategies of homeschool educators that instruct children with special needs. While Special Education services in public schools must be available under numerous Federal and State laws, many families with special need children believe that homeschooling provides the best educational outcomes. Research on homeschooled students shows that their achievement typically equals and often surpasses those in traditional schools. Without specialized training, homeschool instructors have been shown to develop teaching strategies that are extremely effective. Utilizing a survey of Internet hosted parent support groups, six homeschool instructors pedagogic approaches are analyzed.

Home Schooling for Individuals' Gain and Society's Common Good by Brian D. Ray Peabody Journal of Education 75(1&2) 272-293
Quoted from his conclusion:

Home schooling is done out of intense care and concern for today's children.

Research is clear that home schooling is chosen to (a) assure that children are academically successful, (b) individualize teaching and learning for each child, (c) enhance family relationships, (d) provide children guided and reasoned social interactions with youthful peers and adults, (e) keep children safe in many respects, and (f) transmit particular values and worldviews to the children (Ray, 1999). Parents do not engage in home education, by and large, to aid some group (be it a majority, minority, disadvantaged, or advantaged one). It is done for today's children, knowing that if they benefit, then society as a whole ultimately will benefit and thus the common good will be served.

Home schooling is a potent way of education and a rich social experience that had all but vanished by 1980 from the consciousness of the American people. Family-based and parent-led education is now back in strength and dynamism. Hundreds of thousands of people in America (and other countries) are enthusiastically developing the thesis that it liberates children and families. Home schooling gives parents and children an opportunity to escape the multiple dominating powers and special interest groups who constantly vie for control within the dominion of state-controlled schooling.

Home-Schooling in the US January 2004 Clive R. Belfield
Abstract: This paper reviews recent evidence on home-schooling and home-based education in the US. Using various sources including state-level information and data on homeschoolers who took the SAT in 2001, we describe the characteristics of home-schoolers and analyze the motivation to home-school. We then evaluate home-schooling in terms of freedom of choice, efficiency, equity, and social cohesion. Throughout the evaluation, we note difficulties in identifying the treatment effect of home-schooling. On freedom of choice, we find that home-schooling may be highly liberating. On efficiency, we compare SAT test scores of home-schoolers with students in other types of school (noting the lack of evidence on home-school costs ). There are serious methodological concerns in ascribing overall test score differences to home-school provision, including self -selection of test-takers and absence of controls for co-variates; but we do find relative differences between results for Verbal and Math tests for home-schoolers. Issues of equity in relation to home-schooling arise because families are now the ultimate determinants of a child's welfare and prospects; we find relatively strong intergenerational academic transfers for home-schoolers. The research on social cohesion, which is mainly published in general media, reports positive effects but focusses entirely on the individual home-schooler and not broader societal impacts. We trace the consequences of this evaluation for policies on regulation, finance, and support services for home-schooling.
ERIC digest on homeschooling. A weak, dated, annotated bibliography. Public School Reform: Potential Lessons from the Truly Departed by J. Dan Marshall and James P. Valle
Abstract In this article, the authors present data from a small study of 19 families who educate their children at home in rural Pennsylvania. Findings relative to why they opted out of the public education system and whether they would return are analyzed in light of a previously established construct (Idealogue/Pedagogue) before being used to critique and expand it in light of broader cultural concerns. The authors argue, overall, that home educators are asserting their historical option of cultural agency and schooling. (Note 1)
If "school reform" is a bandwagon, then the parade is still in progress. Most of the grand proposals earlier composed by politicians, pundits, policy wonks, and professors have evolved into smaller, more locally pertinent endeavors by actual change participants (educators, students, parents and community members). In the worst case, the continuing accumulation of school reform efforts is understood as succeeding waves of perpetual hassle and silliness which disturb the basic soundness of business-as-usual. In the best case, such efforts become a representation of participants' commitment to the repetitive nature of the learning process: desiring to know and understand - acting upon these desires - making sense of and reflecting upon those actions - identifying new or different desires to know and understand. Thus, in the best case, school reform efforts should be here to stay.
Those who care about examining and acting upon the quality of their local schools seek information from numerous sources, including their own experiences, outside consultants, beliefs and opinions collected from local, state, and national polls, and "the literature" of academia. But they seldom tap the one segment of their community which may provide the most unique perspective: parents who have opted out of the local public school system. We suspect that this group -- particularly those families who have taken it upon themselves to provide education at home -- may have something important to offer those working to change public education. In this article, we discuss our preliminary foray into the lives of several Pennsylvania home educators in light of public school reform efforts.

Homeschooler's Achievments

Performance in Homeschooling: an Argument Against Compulsory Schooling in the Netherlands Henk Blok
Abstract Although home education is a growing phenomenon in many Western countries, it is almost non-existent in the Netherlands. Under Dutch educational law, children must be educated in the school system. Home schooling is thought to endanger children's development. This study examines primarily American analyses of performance in home schooling. Its leading question is: How do home-schooled children develop in comparison with school pupils? It concludes that home-schooled children perform better on average in the cognitive domain (language, mathematics, natural sciences, social studies), but differ little from their peers at school in terms of socio-emotional development. This positive finding may be attributed partly to socioeconomic factors. However, it is also suggested that the quality of the learning environment, including one-to-one tutoring, could also be a contributing factor.
Home-Education: Aims, Practices and Outcomes by Paula Rothermel University of Durham, 2002 (Working paper) Conference paper

This research explores the aims and practices of home-educating families from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The methodology involves a questionnaire survey completed by 419 home-educating families and 196 assessments evaluating the psychosocial and academic development of home-educated children aged eleven years and under. The aim was to gain an understanding of children's education outside school. This is the first UK study involving home-educated children and their families, using diverse methodologies, broad aims and large sample.

The results show that 64% of the home-educated Reception aged children scored over 75% on their PIPS Baseline Assessments as opposed to 5.1% of children nationally. The National Literacy Project assessment results reveal that 80.4% of the home-educated children scored within the top 16% band (of a normal distribution bell curve), whilst 77.4% of the PIPS Year 2 home-educated cohort scored similarly. Results from the psychosocial instruments confirm the home-educated children were socially adept and without behavioural problems.

The home-educated children demonstrated high levels of attainment and good social skills. Common to all families involved was their flexible approach to education and the high level of parental attention received by the children. Children benefited from the freedom to develop their skills at their own speed. Home-educating parents fulfilled two separate 'professional' roles - as parents and educators. Further, in the light of these results, the concept of 'taking responsibility' and home-educating, rather than accepting state provision challenges us to consider how far we should go in accepting the 'informed wisdom' of the school norm.

Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998 by Lawrence M. Rudner

This report presents the results of the largest survey and testing program for students in home schools to date. In Spring 1998, 20,760 K-12 home school students in 11,930 families were administered either the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) or the Tests of Achievement and Proficiency (TAP), depending on their current grade. The parents responded to a questionnaire requesting background and demographic information. Major findings include: the achievement test scores of this group of home school students are exceptionally high--the median scores were typically in the 70th to 80th percentile; 25% of home school students are enrolled one or more grades above their age-level public and private school peers; this group of home school parents has more formal education than parents in the general population; the median income for home school families is significantly higher than that of all families with children in the United States; and almost all home school students are in married couple families. Because this was not a controlled experiment, the study does not demonstrate that home schooling is superior to public or private schools and the results must be interpreted with caution. The report clearly suggests, however, that home school students do quite well in that educational environment.

Contextualizing Homeschooling Data: A Response to Rudner by Kariane Mari Welner and Kevin G. Welner.

Rudner (1999) presents the results of a survey and testing program, administered by Bob Jones University (BJU), for homeschooling students. In this response, we applaud Rudner's contribution to building a greater understanding of the homeschooling movement. However, we also voice a strong concern that what Rudner contributed with one hand, he took back with the other. We contend that Rudner's analysis of the BJU data fails to offer a straightforward explanation of important and striking limitations. The unfortunate result is an inaccurate portrayal of homeschoolers as a white, Christian, monolithic population. Although the results of Rudner's analyses are likely valid for the particular population he studied, his insufficient attention to the data's bias has led to an erroneous picture of homeschooling.

The Characteristics of Home-Schoolers Who Take the SAT December 2002 Clive R. Belfield

This short note describes the characteristics of home-schoolers who take the SAT. Home-schooling is the ultimate form of education privatization: privately funded and provided, with only light regulation. National data indicate that over 800,000 students are home-schooled. But, home-schooling is difficult to identify and measure. Using the population of SAT test-takers in 2001, we identify 6033 individuals who selfreport being home-schooled. We compare their characteristics with national data and other information sources.


Homeschooling and the Redefinition of Citizenship by A. Bruce Arai. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 7(27):1-18.

Homeschooling has grown considerably in many countries over the past two or three decades. To date, most research has focused either on comparisons between schooled and homeschooled children, or on finding out why parents choose to educate their children at home. There has been little consideration of the importance of homeschooling for the more general issue of citizenship, and whether people can be good citizens without going to school. This paper reviews the research on homeschooling, as well as the major objections to it, and frames these debates within the broader issues of citizenship and citizenship education. The paper shows that homeschoolers are carving out a different but equally valid understanding of citizenship and that policies which encourage a diversity of understandings of good citizenship should form the basis citizenship education both for schools and homeschoolers.

Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization 2000 by Richard G. Medlin in Peabody Journal of Education, 75(2&2) 107-123
Quoted from his conclusion:

Although there are still far too many unanswered questions about home schooling and socialization, some preliminary conclusions can be stated. Home-schooled children are taking part in the daily routines of their communities. They are certainly not isolated; in fact, they associate with -- and feel close to -- all sorts of people. Home schooling parents can take much of the credit for this. For, with their children's long-term social development in mind, they actively encourage their children to take advantage of social opportunities outside the family. Home-schooled children are acquiring the rules of behavior and systems of beliefs and attitudes they need. They have good self-esteem and are likely to display fewer behavior problems than do other children. They may be more socially mature and have better leadership skills than other children as well. And they appear to be functioning effectively as members of adult society.

Is Private School Privatizing? Although this is not in a peer-reviewed journal, it seems to be a valuable piece by respectable authors Christian Smith and David Sikkink.
Abstract The authors show that after controlling for relevant factors such as family education and income level, private- and home-schooling families are significantly more likely to be civically engaged then are public schooling families. They discuss some social theories which justify this empirical regularity.

Offline information

Try your library, and interlibrary loan.

Specific to Alaska

Homeschooling in Alaska: Extreme Experiments in Home Education by Terje Ann Hanson. Masters Thesis 2000.
This study explores the history of homeschooling in Alaska. The 49th state offers an unusual degree of freedom from regulation that allows diverse and innovative experiments in home education to flourish. Currently, Alaskan home schoolers enjoy more freedom to practice their craft than in any other state of the United States.

Alaska has never had enough money to deliver quality education to its children. Trying to establish an education system, to serve a small population scattered over more than half-a-million square miles, required the development of innovative methods: one of these was homeschooling. Home schooling provides a low cost answer to educate Alaska's children, and became an accepted institution in Alaskan education. Today home schooling continues to deliver lower cost education to both the remote and urban student, in the North, but also offers myriad options for parents who demand more and greater flexibility in educating their children.

Home Study in Alaska: A Profile of K-12 Students in the Alaska Centralized Correspondence Study Program. by Sue S. Greene, 1984. ERIC document number 255494
Abstract: This study offers a profile of Alaska home study students and their families. Subjects were 88 students drawn from enrollees in the state-run K-12 Centralized Correspondence Study program. Survey results showed that the students live in both rural, isolated regions and larger, more urban areas of Alaska. Most of them are taught by the mother, who customarily manages the experience with a flexible schedule but somewhat traditional methods of reciting and questioning. The residence is more likely to be in an area which the parents would not describe as a community, but almost as likely to be in one of the Alaska towns of over 15,000 population. There is a 33 percent likelihood that the student is not near a school and is not served by bus transportation. Reasons other than necessity for enrollment range from the belief that home study provides more opportunity for learning life skills and spiritual values, to the need or desire of the family to continue schooling while traveling. Families usually plan to continue correspondence study, though most adopt a year-to-year approach to enrollment.

Journals (offline)

Home School Researcher is a peer-reviewed journal, but I suspect that it is not considered top-tier by the education establishment.

Peabody Journal of Education Has published articles on homeschooling. In particular, their June 2000 issue was a special edition covering homeschooling.

Demographics of Homeschoolers (offline)

Reasons for Home Schooling in Canada A. Bruce Arai Canadian Journal of Education 25,3 (2000) 204-217.

Why do parents in Canada choose to home school their children? This article presents the results of qualitative interviews with 23 home-schooling families in Ontario and British Columbia and compares these results with previous research in other jurisdictions, particularly the United States. The findings suggest that Canadian home-based educators have very different resons for choosing home schooling than their U.S. counterparts. Possible explanations for these differences are discussed.

General Research, Offline

Home Schools: a Synthesis of Research on Characteristics and Learner Outcomes By Brian D. Ray Education and Urban Society Novenber 1988 21(1) 16-31

This paper is an excellent overview of the field as of 1988. Unfortunately, it's rather dated by now, as there has been a great deal of work done since then, and many of the gaps Ray found have since been filled. This work cites and summarises papers covering:

The bibliography covers 66 works (obviously, none more recent than 1988).

HomeSchoolers as Adults

"Yep! We're grown up home schooled kids and we're doing just fine, thank you very much." Knowles, J. G., & Muchmore, J. A. (1995). Journal of Research on Christian Education, 4(1), 35-56.
Abstract A recurring criticism of home schooling is that students are deprived of the interaction necessary for optional [sic] social adjustment. Life-history interviews of adults who themselves were home-educated, however, fail to substantiate the criticism. To the contrary, the adults reflected positively on their home education and their present occupations. Spirituality and a sense of moral purpose were values shared by a [sic] many of the adults.
The Outcomes of Home-based Education: Employment and Other Issues. by Julie Webb, 1989. Eric Number EJ393193 Education Review, Vol.41, No.2, pp 121-133.
Abstract: Examines aspects of the adult lives of wholly or partly home-educated people. Found that all who attempted higher education were successful, that there was no evidence of prejudice regarding employment, and that the socialization of home-educated students was often better than that of their schooled peers.

Homeschooler's Achievments (offline)

Home schooled and conventionally schooled high school graduates: a comparison of aptitude for and achievement in college english. Rhonda A. Scott Galloway and Joe P. Sutton. 1995 In Home School REsearcher, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp.1-9.
Excerpt from their conclusion: Yet, based on the results of this investigations, one may conclude that the home schooled students in this study demonstrate similar academic preparedness for college and similar academic achievement in college as the students who have attended conventional schools. These findings are consistant with the existing research that reveals that home schooled students perform as well as, if not better than, conventionally educated students on academic achievement measures on the elementary and secondary levels. It seems that home schooled students can continue to perform adequately in the different, and more advanced, academic setting of college-level study.


Social Development in Traditionally Schooled and Home Educated Children: A Case for Increased Parental Monitoring and Decreased Peer Dominance By Michael s. Brady, 2003. In Home School Researcher, 15(4), 11-18.
From the introduction: This article examines the factors that may contribute to the social development of children especially in regards to peer influence and parental involvement and monitoring. These effects are examined by looking at their influence across traditionally schooled and home schooled populations. Additionally, contributing factors are examined across their varied dimensions including: (a) schema development, as influenced by the availability heuristic and the false consensus effect; (b) negative peer influences from three domains: outward, inward and through deviance training; and (c) parental monitoring. Studies suggest that as parental monitoring increases and is integrated within the peer culture, socialization and personality development are enhanced
From the conclusion: While peer interaction may be important for successful personality development, the quality of those interactions is equally important. Children that live in a peer-dominant culture tend to be at greater risk for negative peer influences, such as rejection and deviance training. These social interactions find their strength by using the availability heuristic to alter the false consensus effect. Researcgas demonstrated that increased parental monitoring can increase successful socialization and personality development. The positive increase in social behavior may be due in part to the supervision and regulation of peer group membership and peer activities.
Some Educational Benefits of Freely Chosen Age Mixing Among Children and Adolescents. By Jay Feldman and Peter Gray Phi Delta Kappan; Mar99, Vol. 80 Issue 7, p507 Follow the link, then scroll down to find Phi Delta Kappan. You wan the Ac.Search Premier link.
Abstract: Discusses the value of age mixing in social interactions for studying how children learn. How observing children in schools may limit our understanding of children's activities; Observing children in environments where they choose their own activities and partners; Research on age mixing by Lev Vygotsky; Role of adults in age mixing situations; Difference between children's self-directed implicit teaching and adult-directed explicit teaching.
Home vs. Public Schoolers` Relationships: Differences in Social Networks. by Chatham-Carpenter, April D., 1992. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (78th, Chicago, IL, October 29-November 1, 1992). Eric Number ED361784
Abstract: Noting the lack of basic information necessary to begin to make conclusions about a home schooled child`s social contacts, a study investigated the social networks of home vs. public schooled children (with a child`s `social network` defined as all of the people who interact on a regular basis with the child at least once a month). The subject pool consisted of 21 home schooled children and 20 public schooled children, ages 12-l8, living in Oklahoma. Each subject kept a list of his/her interactions over a month`s period of time, i.e. who he/she talked with for periods of at least 2 minutes or more. Follow-up surveys elicited information from subjects and their mothers about the structural and interactional quality of subjects` relationships with people on the list. Results indicated that the home schooling process does affect the nature of the relationships experienced in adolescence for home schoolers. The study found overall that home schoolers are not `at risk` in terms of the total number of people with whom they interact but are `at risk` in the sense of feeling less closeness towards and receiving less support from their peer friend relationships than public schoolers. (Five tables of data are included; 60 references and an appendix providing the Home/Public Relationships Questionnaire are attached.) (NH)
Social and Emotional Status of Home Schooled Children and Conventionally Schooled Children in West Virginia. by Lee Stough, 1992 Eric Number ED353079
Abstract: This study compared home-schooled children to conventionally schooled children in West Virginia. A total of 30 home schooling families and 32 conventionally schooling families with children of 7 to 14 years of age participated in the study. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales Classroom Edition was used to gather parent perspectives on the social sufficiency of their children. The children's self-evaluations were recorded on the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale. A projective instrument, the Kinetic Drawing System for Family and School, was used to explore child-family-school interaction patterns for evidence of emotional indicators. Results showed no statistical difference between home-schooled and conventionally schooled children in terms of social sufficiency, self-concept, or presence of emotional indicators. A reference list of 45 items is included. (MM)
Home Schooling, Socialization, and Creativity in Children. by Patrick K. Aiex, 1994 Eric Number ED367040
Abstract: After defining and tracing the historical background of home schooling in the United States, this paper focuses on studies which deal with: (1) the socialization of home-schooled children; and (2) creativity in home-schooled children. Noting that according to the Home School Legal Defense Association the number of home-schooled children has jumped from 15,000 in the early 80s to between 750,000-1,000,000 in 1994, the paper argues that the sheer increase in numbers has forced public school educators to take notice of home schooling. The paper concludes with an interview with a couple who home school their children, in which they recount their reasons for home schooling and their experiences with the process. (Contains 11 references.) (NKA)
Socialization of Home School Children By Thomas C. Smedley, 1992. In Home School Researcher, 8(3), 9-16.
This study measures socialization by observed interactions, rather than using Taylor's method of measuring the children's ``subjective internal states''. Smedley directly measures the social maturity of homeschooled students, then compares those scores to a demographically matched sample of public school students. Quotes from his discussion section:
  • The findings of this study indicate that children kept at home are more mature and better socialized than those who are sent to school.
  • The classroom is mostly one-way communication, along stereotyped and rote channels. ... Given the size of classes, few meaningful interchanges are possible on a given day between teacher and individual student.
  • Home educators stress the initiative and individual responsibility of the individual student, ...
  • The industrial approach to education may place a specified quantity of data before each student. Given the bureaucratic nature of the public school communication environment, however, it cannot logically be claimed to ``socialize'' the students.
  • Comparison of Social Adjustment Between Home and Traditionally Schooled Students. Shyers, Larry Edward, PhD. University of Florida, 1992. 311 pp. Advisor: Wittmer, Paul J. UMI order number 9304052
    Abstract copied from MIT home-ed FAQ.
    Traditional schools provide for regular classroom contact with children of the same age, and it is assumed that this regular contact with other children aids appropriate social adjustment. By their very nature, home schools do not provide for regular formal classroom contact with children other than siblings. Because of this obvious difference, parents, educators, legislators and courts have questioned whether children schooled at home are as socially well-adjusted as their agemates in traditional programs. Investigation of this possible difference was the focus of this study.
    The results of this study imply that children between the ages of 8 and 10 (sample universe for the study) have similar beliefs about themselves regardless of how they are schooled. All age groups in both research populations had self-concept scores higher than the average national average as measured by the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale.
    The results of this study further indicate that children from both schooling environments participating in this study achieved scores on the Children's Assertive Behavior Scale revealing slightly passive understanding of social situations. According to the results of this study, children between the ages of 8 and 10 who had been educated entirely in a home school had significantly fewer problem behaviors, as measured by the Direct Observation form of the _Child Behavior Checklist_, than children of the same age from traditional schools. Children of this age in this study, who had been educated entirely in traditional schools, revealed problem behaviors above the normal range for national populations of the same age.
    It can be concluded from the results of this study that appropriate social skills can develop apart from the formal contact with children other than siblings. This supports the belief held by homeschool proponents.
    Home Educated Children's Social/Emotional Adjustment and Academic Achievement: A Comparative Study. by Maarse Delahooke, Mona UMI order number 8608759
    No Abstract
    Self-Concept in Home-Schooling Children (Socialization, Alternative Education). by Taylor, John Wesley, V. UMI order number 8624219 Summarized in Home School Researcher Vol. 2, No. 2, June 1986.
    Description from HSR summary: Taylor draws 12 conclusions, which he summarises with:
    Inasmuch as the literature indicates a strong, consistant relationship between self-concept and academic achievement, I would suggest that a study evaluating the academic achievement of home schooling children would find them to be significantly above average.
    His conclusions 1, 2 and 7 are of particular interest:
  • 1. The self-concept of the home schooling children was significantly higher (p<.001) than that of the conventionally schooled population on the global scale and all six subscales of the PHSCS. On the global scale, half of the home schoolers scored at or above the 91st percentile. This condition may be due to higher achievement and mastery levels, independent study characteristics, or one-on-one tutoring situations in the home school environment. It could also be due, perhaps, to higher levels of parental interest and communication, peer independence, a sense of responsibility, and lowered anxiety levels.
  • 2. Insofar as self-concept is a reflector of socialization, it would appear that few home schooling children are socially deprived. Critics of the home school should not urge self-concept and socialization rationales. These factors apparently favor home schoolers over the conventionally schooled population.
  • 7. The best predictive model of self-concept in home schooling children (p<.001) is related to lower grade-equivalence, higher years of home schooling, higher number of home schooling children in the family, and higher beginning school age. The model is statistically stable, and accounts for over 12 percent of the variation in self-concept.
  • Child Development

    Prime Time for Education: Early Childhood or Adolescence? by William D. Rohwer, Jr. Harvard Educational Review 41(3) 316-341.
    Abstract: The author suggests that the present goals of early childhood education programs may be ill-advised. Further investment in such programs should be tempered by two major possibilities: (1) that existing school objectives should be redefined in terms of relevance for extra-school tasks and skill proficiency; and (2) that early childhood may simply be an inefficient period in which to try to teach skills that can be relatively quickly learned in adolescence. The author discusses a variety of research findings in light of these two considerations and advocates further and more intensive study of intellectual development during the late childhood and early adolescent years. The author concludes that current forms of schooling should not be imposed at early ages. Postponing such learning experiences would probably reduce the degree of alienation from schooling which many students experience, while at the same time producing equal or better results in terms of extra-school achievement.
    Research and Common Sense:Therapies for Our Homes and Schools by Raymond S. Moore. Teachers College Review Winter 1982, 84(2) 355-377
    Article summary coming soon.
    When Education Becomes Abuse: A Different Look at the Mental Health of Children by Raymond S. and Dorothy Moore, Journal of School Health February 1986, Vol. 56, No. 2 pp73-75.
    The Moores present evidence, from modern research and ancient tradition, to support the thesis that children should not begin school until age 10 to 12. This is more a general-interest article than a piece of scholarly research. It is adequately footnoted, but the bibliography isn't extensive. I include it here because it is interesting reading.

    Case Law Pertaining to Homeschooling

    Pierce v. Society of Sisters The Supreme Court unanimously held that "the fundamental liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only." 268 U.S. 510 (1925).

    Meyer v. State of Nebraska The Supreme Court held that: Nebraska violated the liberty protected by due process of the Fourteenth Amendment. Liberty means more than freedom from bodily restraint. State regulation of liberty must be reasonably related to a proper state objective. The legislature's view of reasonableness was subject to supervision by the courts. The legislative purpose of the law was to promote assimilation and civic development. But these purposes were not adequate to justify interfering with Meyer's liberty to teach or the liberty of parents to employ him during a "time of peace and domestic tranquillity." 262 U.S. 390 (1923)

    Troxel v. Granville The Supreme Court held that the Washington Statute violated the right of parents, under the due process clause of the Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment, to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. Justice O'Connor wrote for the Court that "[t]he liberty interest at issue in this case -- the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children -- is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court." Justices John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy dissented. 530 U.S. 57 (2000)

    Wisconsin v. Yoder The Supreme Court held that individual's interests in the free exercise of religion under the First Amendment outweighed the State's interests in compelling school attendance beyond the eighth grade. The Court found that the values and programs of secondary school were "in sharp conflict with the fundamental mode of life mandated by the Amish religion," and that an additional one or two years of high school would not produce the benefits of public education cited by Wisconsin to justify the law. 406 U.S. 205 (1972)

    The People v. DeJonge Michegan, 1985. This case suggests that state requirements which infringing parents rights to educate their children must be the least restrictive means of accomplishing their goal.

    Useful Links

    Christian Home Educators Association of Kansas has a Homeschool Research Update which might provide quick answers to your basic questions.

    Noodlelinks has a brief page on homeschool research. This seems to be all glossy-magazine articles.

    Tennessee's homeschool information site,, has a homeschool research page with several interesting links.

    Successful Mommy has a homeschool research page which has some links which your child might find helpful for doing research.

    The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents has a great deal of information which is of interest to Canadians, and a page of research and discussion.

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