At last count, about 4% of American children of school age (5-18) are homeschooled. Add to that the 10% who are educated at private schools of some type. That means that nearly 7.7 million school age children are educated outside of the government school system. Ultimately, those numbers don’t reveal much, until you start looking at the achievement gaps.
Let’s look at homeschooled children first.
On average, children who receive their education at home school between 15 and 30 points higher in percentile rankings on achievement tests. The national average is in the 50th percentile. So, if a child ranks in the 70th percentile, that means her scores are in the top 30% of children her age.
Now, before we start wondering what kind of situation these children are in, let’s take some things into account.
The education level of parents DOES NOT negatively affect these score. Neither does household income, nor the amount of state regulation. (http://www.nheri.org/research/research-facts-on-homeschooling.html)
Private school students see similar rankings on achievement scores, ranging from 15 to 25 points higher. Religious school students average about 100 points higher on SATs.
It has been proven over and over that a non-public education is much more beneficial for students than a public education. The scores prove it.
On top of that, students in private school environments are much more likely to feel safe than their public school counterparts. In every category examined by the National Center for Education Statistics in a study released in March, private school students reported problems at least half the rate than in public schools. (http://www.statisticbrain.com/private-school-statistics/)
Smaller class sizes, more interaction with teachers, and more one-on-one instruction helps children in every aspect of the school experience.
Children also are much more involved with community service with a homeschool or private school background. So much so that the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) provides information specific to activities in which children can take part.
The bottom line is this: children who have an educational experience outside a public school system are much better prepared for college and the real world. Isn’t that what we all want for our children?