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Statistics and Homeschoolers: A Helpful Summary

Fifteen years ago, when we had just begun homeschooling, I met a mom at a party.  She told me she would never homeschool because studies showed that children from high income families did better in so many ways…so she needed to go out and make money as soon as they were in school. 

I tried to show her that what kids need is time with their parents.  She wasn’t a Christian, so I couldn’t convince her with the Biblical exhortation that moms should be busy at home.

Besides, she had statistics on her side.  Homeschooling, she told me, would not be as good for the children as upping the family income.

Oh, statistics!  How they can be misunderstood, and misapplied!

I only wish she could have read this beautiful analysis, entitled Homeschooling as an Equalizer.

Or these research results which state that “Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.”

To sum up, many of the ‘old’ statistics, like the one this woman was basing her life on, do not apply to homeschooling families.  It’s good to know.

Investing time in your children, as God’s Word tells us to do, is more effective than making money.  Is it a surprise?  No, of course not.  But it is good to see this truth put forth in numbers, the kind of thing that others can understand.

Note that this article has been updated with more recent research in 2018.

If you enjoyed this, you might want to follow me on Google+, where I often mention helpful or interesting ideas, friend me on Facebook where I occasionally show up, or connect with me on GoodReads where I eventually share what I read.

For more inspiration, visit Carnival of Homeschooling, Hip Homeschool Hop, Mentoring Mamas, No Ordinary Blog Hop, Encourage One Another Wednesday, Women Living Well Wednesdays, Works For Me Wednesday , Simple Lives Thursday, Raising Homemakers, and Frugal Friday.



  1. Jenn4him says:

    Oh, that’s good! Good for us! Thank you. It’s always nice to hear good things about homeschooling, especially when one is deep in the trenches and cannot often see the end results!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, it is, isn’t it?

  2. JoAnn says:

    Having information like this is very useful with some people, it’s the only way for them to see how effective homeschooling is. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, it’s a wonderful summary of research results. I’m so thankful I found it, and I’m glad I could share it.

  3. Patricia P says:

    It’s nice when the rest of the world can see that homeschooling is a great choice when it comes to educating our children and preparing them for the future.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, it’s good for them to see, and for us, too.

  4. This is exactly what I needed to see today. A friend of mine is going through a tough time and everyone around is telling her that the solution to all her problems is to put her kids in public school. I am emailing her a link to this page today, to print out and show these people. Thanks again for posting this! Stopping by from the Hip Homeschool Hop!

  5. Annie Kate says:

    No, public school is not the answer. I’m so glad you will be able to encourage her with this! I pray that she will soon enter an easier time, with her children still at home with her and not in a public school.

  6. Homeschool Rocks!! I started homeschooling in 1998. In 1999 I became a single parent and worked outside the home. We just worked around it.
    I am now re-married and was able to quit my job 3 years ago.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Wow! I cannot imagine ‘working around’ working outside the home when you’re homeschooling. Good for you! I’m glad you are able to be at home now.

  7. Briana says:

    I love this graphic. It is fun to watch my homeschooled children grow up and see how they stand out. It’s nice to know they have an educational advantage also. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m doing a very good job so this is a nice boost to my confidence.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, from what I read on your blog, your children are doing very well. I’m glad this encourages you.

  8. Pamela says:

    What cool graphics. Have you ever heard the slogan, “the proof is in the pudding”? The true value of your children’s education will show as they live their life–not just academically, but in other ways, too.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes. And even if it doesn’t show, you know you’ve done your best and can ask God to bless it all and forgive the mistakes.

  9. Sarah says:

    This is encouraging although I wish there was equivalent data here, in the UK.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Data is hard to come by. UK statistics are probably somewhat similar, but with your different school system and culture, there might be unexpected differences.

  10. What a great image of comparison. I can’t believe that lady believed making money would be better for her kids in the long run than spending time with them! I’m a mom of a 2-year-old and another on the way, and will probably end up sending them to a private school (where my husband teaches), but I’m in no way against homeschooling — I do encourage it for those who can make it work! Thanks for sharing, and thanks for linking up to NOBH!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, Carrie, it was hard for me to believe as well. Sigh!
      Homeschooling is great, but private Christian schooling with parental involvement also shows very good results according to statistics I’ve seen.

      May the Lord bless you as you raise your little one and the new baby on the way.

  11. Jenny says:

    Unless I missed something, you didn’t address her concern. She was paying attention to very real data about higher income vs. lower income families. In response, you’ve provided information about public schooling families in general, rather than that for the higher income faction she desires to be a part of.

  12. Annie Kate says:

    Jenny, you pointed out a very interesting new angle that I discuss at the end of this reply. It’s an excellent point and would be an great research project.

    I think you also missed something…but there is so much in the table it is perhaps easy to miss. I’ll discusss that first.

    In the section entitled “Homeschoolers are Less Affected by External Standards” the first graph shows that for homeschoolers family income makes essentially no difference in test scores.

    The data this woman was relying on is that, for public schoolers, family income is a significant factor in test scores. The data presented here shows that she could have achieved her goals (excellent test scores, graduation rates, and other quality of life measurements) by homeschooling her children rather than by getting a job to increase her income.

    As you pointed out, the homeschoolers in these statistics are compared to public schoolers in general. Since the homeschoolers’ test scores are over 30% higher than public school test scores, homeschooling obviously erases a huge gap for the lower income homeschoolers, whose scores would have been much lower if they had been public school students.

    What you implied is that very high income public school students may have performed even better than homeschool students. It would be interesting to see how homeschool scores compare to the highest income level of public schoolers. If you ever do a comparison of that I’d love to see it.

  13. Kim says:

    Thanks so much for the uplifting information on homeschooling! I knew it had gotten more popular as parents become more and more aware of the multiple downside of public education, but I didn’t know it had gotten this mainstream. Hooray for homeschooling families!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      You’re welcome!

  14. Jenny says:

    Annie Kate: Thanks for your comment on my blog. My point is that this woman you refer to might have good reasons to assume that improving her family income is easier to do than homeschooling her children. According to you, either would produce the same effect.

  15. Annie Kate says:

    I should have made it more clear, but this was a very hands-on, devoted, spend-time-with-the-kids woman. She was following statistics, not her heart, when she opted for working.

    She would have loved to homeschool her kids but was convinced it would not be as good for them as going out to increase the family income. Poor lady.

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