Gwen Dewar writes in a blog on BabyCenter about a new study comparing Homeschoolers and Unschoolers to Institutional Schoolers. I’m sure this will become fodder for controversy on many homeschooling and unschooling blogs.
The results were quite marked. The structured homeschool kids were at least one grade level ahead in phonics, science, social science, and the humanities. In math, they were about half a grade level ahead.
And remember, their competition wasn’t a cross section of public school students, but a select group of kids who matched them in many ways. Like the structured homeschoolers, these public-schoolers were performing above grade level. But not as much. And even after controlling for family income and mother’s education level, the structured homeschoolers still had the edge.
There’s a wrinkle, however, and it’s this: Unstructured homeschoolers didn’t perform nearly as well. In fact, they were the only students in the study to test a bit below grade level. If structured homeschoolers got an A+, unstructured homeschoolers got a C or C-. Read more…
The comments on that post reflect a lot of good points. Unschoolers correctly point out that they don’t teach their children to do well on tests, but to be individualistic, creative adults. And, some children need less structure than others and actually do better.
Anyway, despite the flaws in this study, it appears more valid that some we have read about. Don’t blame Gwen (or me) for being the messengers. But do discuss this or devise your own studies if you really want to add to the debate. Like, what is the eventual outcome of the lives of homeschoolers, unschoolers, or public-schoolers (aside from a college degree or a good job)?