It's a common opinion homeschooled students are less prepared for college than nonhomeschoolers. The National Education Association cites concerns about socialization and the completeness and quality of a homeschool curriculum. A widely shared blog on homeschool graduates in college addresses concerns about college and career readiness, noting strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of college professors. Some weaknesses identified include demotivation when feedback from professors takes longer than expected, lack of proper citation and research skills due to over-reliance on the internet and sacrificing efficiency for accuracy to achieve perfectionism.
The truth about homeschoolers in college is they often outperform nonhomeschoolers. The responses from professors indicate how homeschoolers value learning, are prepared for writing assignments and are more engaged. Professors also note homeschooled graduates aren't afraid to ask for assistance when needed and have tenacity and persistence. Moreover, because of the homeschool curriculum's inclusion of travel, volunteer work, local service projects and athletics, homeschoolers are arguably more socialized than traditionally schooled graduates.
These findings help debunk misconceptions about college and career readiness for homeschoolers. Here's what you should know.
Homeschool Curriculum Positively Impacts College
While those who oppose homeschooling challenge the quality of a homeschool curriculum, the truth about homeschoolers is they often outperform on pre-college exams and standardized tests. Thanks to a customized education, these students are better prepared for a post-secondary degree.
A 2016 study by the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) indicates homeschoolers scored between 15 and 30 percentage points higher on standardized academic achievement tests. Research also indicates students who received an education from a home-based program usually scored higher on the SAT/ACT. These studies help explain why homeschool graduates are frequently recruited for college.
However, it's crucial to note some homeschoolers lack proper research skills to identify credible sources and content. Yet, providing challenging courses that empower individualized learning may help resolve this issue.
Homeschool Socialization Establishes Networks
Homeschooling is a lonely way to learn, right? Many outside the homeschooling community think so. This notion positions homeschoolers as antisocial, but instead they tend to be equally outgoing and as involved as their peers — if not more so. A well-established foundation in the community results in a positive impact during college and beyond.
Pre-college socialization in a homeschool curriculum involves extracurricular activities, such as 4H Club, scouts or team sports. A 2013 National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) survey revealed 29 percent of homeschool students are of high school age, and many of these students participate in sports. Pay special attention to your state's mandates, because some make it harder than others to enroll — others don't allow it at all. Discover your state's laws here.
NHERI's research on success in the "real world of adulthood" concluded that homeschool graduates participate in community service, voting and public meetings more often than the general population. While there are adverse concerns to a homeschool curriculum, NHERI also indicated this research did not point to any negative impacts compared to a traditional education.
The truth about homeschoolers in college is they have a track record for performing highly. From high graduation rates to deep community involvement, homeschoolers develop the discipline and habits it takes to achieve success in college. Research helps demonstrate how the strengths of homeschoolers outweigh their weaknesses, but more extensive knowledge is necessary to prove this. As the homeschool population continues to grow, so will the need to back up the trends.