The Legitimacy of Homeschooling

Brian Ray is probably the world’s leading expert in homeschooling research. As an academic researcher, for over twenty years he has been engaged in compiling research on homeschooling in the U.S.  He has compiled over 1,400 studies, the vast majority being favourable to the homeschooling process.

I have compiled below, a brief list of some of the outcomes of this research, by going to his website. (You can look at it yourself: It is encouraging!

1.Academic Achievement:

Is it possible for adults without specialized, university-level training in teaching to help their children learn what they need to learn? Numerous studies by dozens of researchers have been completed during the past 25 years that examine the academic achievement of the home-educated …

In most studies, the homeschooled have scored, on average, at the 65th to 80th percentile on standardized academic achievement tests, compared to the national school average of the 50th percentile (which is largely based on public schools).

2.Social, Emotional, and Psychological Development:

“What about socialization?” Homeschool parents call it the “S question.” Socialization questions are asked of nearly every homeschool parent, homeschool teenager, and adult who was home educated. One part of the “S question” asks whether homeschool children interact with other people outside their nuclear family members. Research shows that the large majority of home-educated students consistently interact with children of various ages and parents outside their immediate family.

The second part of the socialization question asks whether home-educated children will experience healthy social, emotional, and psychological development. Numerous studies, employing various psychological constructs and measures, show the home-educated are developing at least as well, and often better than, those who attend institutional schools. No research to date contravenes this general conclusion.

3.The “Real World” of Adulthood:

A corollary of the socialization question deals with whether the home-educated child will eventually function well in the world of adulthood, in which one is responsible for getting along with others on one’s own by not violating others’ inalienable rights, obtaining one’s own food, shelter, and clothing, and living a life that is “self-actualized,” noticeably autonomous in terms of critical thinking, or marked by some other worldview’s preferred traits.

 Various studies have addressed this issue in multiple ways. It appears that the home educated are engaged, at least as much as are others, in activities that predict leadership in adulthood, doing well on their college/university SAT tests and ACT tests, matriculating in college at a rate that is comparable or a bit higher than for the general public, performing well in college, satisfied that they were home educated, involved in community service at least as much as others, and more civically engaged than the general public. There is no research evidence that having been home educated is associated with negative behaviors or ineptitudes in adulthood.

Summary of Research Findings to Date on the Attributes of the Home Educated

More than two decades of research have shown that homeschooling – otherwise known as home-based education or home education – is associated with relatively high academic achievement, healthy social, psychological, and emotional development, and success into adulthood for those who were home educated. Conservatively speaking, one might say research “… simply shows that those parents choosing to make a commitment to home schooling are able to provide a very successful academic environment.”


Families who have chosen what has seemed to be the radical option to homeschool their children have often done so, with a fair amount of criticism and concern from others. But the diligent research done by Brian Ray and many others over more than twenty years now, should be an encouragement to every family, that is (or is considering) homeschooling.

Homeschooling has shown itself to be a productive and wise option for many families. There are now some 2 million children homeschooling in the U.S. It may not be chosen by every family today, but it has been a viable option for godly families since God made parents responsible for their childrens’ education, around 1,500 BC.


Ray’s research should encourage us to persevere with this Biblical, legitimate and practical choice in the modern era.

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