Home Education Research


LA Staffing Costs + Which Department

FOIs for home education budgets 2012-14 revealed enormous disparities in staffing costs. The Education Committee recommendations on where home education should sits in the local authority don't seem to have had an impact [ie move to a neutral department]. 130 LAs' responses

DfE Correspondence with LAs

The Department for Education occasionally writes to local authorities about home education. I put in my own Freedom of Information requests and also track FOIs made by other people. I post the correspondence here

Local Authority Exam Access 2014

My 2014 Report on Local Authority Help with Exams was based on analysing information from 120 local authorities More via this page I carried out this research on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Home Education. Access to exams is a perennial topic, and research was also carried out in 2011 More

SEN Pathfinder Spending 2014

In 2014 I set up an associated website which provides analysis of SEN Pathfinder spending measuring performance - particularly in the area of parental engagement - against the original funding bid. This site has nationwide coverage and the information is sorted alphabetically by LA.

Research Variability Policies and Procedures in Wales

In Autumn 2012 the Welsh Assembly Government put forward plans to change the law on home education. The plans were based on incomplete data. I established the facts by obtaining answers from all Welsh LAs. I published all the FOI responses from local authorities in Wales here. Plans to change the law were dropped. At the time of writing in July 2015 new non-statutory guidance is being developed. More

International Research

International Center Home Education Research

International Center for Home Education Research

Cambridge Review Primary Futures Alternative Education

The Cambridge Primary Review looked at alternative approaches to education such as Steiner and elective home education. More Whilst the outcomes and attainments of home educators are as diverse as those in school or any other educational institution, there are some shared experiences and benchmarks which can be seen as a common factor among a high proportion of children educated outside school.

"In the midst of the many differences in philosophy, outlook and practice of home schoolers, from those who follow the national curriculum pretty rigidly to those whose approach makes Summerhill seem like a model of mainstream pedagogical rectitude, home schooling appears to consistently offer children a more efficacious educational experience even as measured by the standards of normative performativity. One constant in the midst of much complexity is the better than average performance of home schooled children when compared to age cohorts in the general population. Rudner’s (1999) study illustrated that those in grades 1-4 who are educated at home, on average, perform one grade level higher than their public and private school counterparts. Lest this be thought as an effect of early nurture likely to dissipate later in the child’s educational development, it is striking that the performance gap expands as the student progresses so that by 8th grade such children are performing at four grades above the national average in the US."

Paula Rothermel Study UK Home Educating Families

Research by Paula Rothermel explores the aims and practices of home-educating families from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The methodology involves a questionnaire survey completed by 419 home-educating families and 196 assessments evaluating the psychosocial and academic development of home-educated children aged eleven years and under. The aim was to gain an understanding of children's education outside school. This is the first UK study involving home-educated children and their families, using diverse methodologies, broad aims and large sample. The home-educated children demonstrated high levels of attainment and good social skills. Common to all families involved was their flexible approach to education and the high level of parental attention received by the children. Children benefited from the freedom to develop their skills at their own speed. Home-educating parents fulfilled two separate 'professional' roles - as parents and educators. Further, in the light of these results, the concept of 'taking responsibility' and home-educating, rather than accepting state provision challenges us to consider how far we should go in accepting the 'informed wisdom' of the school norm. More

Paula Rothermel also reports on the performance of reception-aged, home-educated children. Media reports tend to focus on older home-educated children withdrawing from school but very little is known about younger children many of whom have never been to school. This research sought insight into the learning experience of these young children. The study involved 35 home-educated children aged between four and five years of age, from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The children were assessed using the Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (Start and End of Reception).Whilst the home-educated children outscored their school counterparts, those from lower socio-economic groups outperformed their middle class peers. It appeared that a flexible approach to education, and a high level of parental attention and commitment, regardless of their socio- economic group and level of education, seemed the most important factors in the children's development and progress. PIPS baseline assessments Rothermel

Alan Thomas Informal Learning

Education at home is a viable alternative to school. Parents or carers do not need any special training or qualifications. Moreover, they often educate their children with very limited resources and with little or no professional guidance. This is radical enough in itself, but it goes much further than this. As parents come to grips with the task of educating their children at home they make educational discoveries which do not reveal themselves in the classroom, some of which directly challenge received wisdom and practice. When educational professionals visit home educators their main concern, from their perspective, is whether the parents or carers are able to provide their children with an educational experience on a par with what they would experience in school. There is an assumption, based on accumulated professional expertise, that educational methods and procedures used in school must be the yardstick against which to measure the effectiveness of home education. This is perfectly reasonable, if only because education has taken place in classrooms over such a long period of time. It is natural that home educators should intend to implement these school methods at home. Yet, when parents embark on their task they generally find that it does not turn out as they envisaged. Standard educational methods do not transfer into the home. As the parents fashion a pedagogy suitable to their circumstances, they find themselves trying out approaches which would be impossible even to attempt in school. In so doing, their experiences provide us with new and sometimes striking insights into education and child development. More

Knowles: Pedagogy to Ideology

Knowles From Pedagogy to Ideology Origins and Phases of Home Education in the US, 1970-1990. The recent emergence of home education is linked to the influence of educational reformers who published in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. This article examines the evolving milieu of home education since 1970 by briefly surveying the home-school movement in the broader historical context. Developments within the home-school movement and changing perceptions of home schools are also presented. The authors interpret the dynamics of the home-education arena and trace home education's growth as a rational and legitimate educational choice by increasingly large numbers of families. There are five phases within the 20-year growth period that illustrate the fluid nature of home education as a social movement.

Brian Ray, HSDLA

In 2003, the Home School Legal Defense Association commissioned the largest research survey to date of adults who were home educated. Conducted by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, the study surveyed over 7,300 adults who were homeschooled. Over 5,000 of these had been home educated at least seven years, and the statistics in this synopsis are based on their responses. The results confirm what homeschoolers have thought for years: "No problem here." More

Fraser Institute Homeschooling: from the Extreme to the Mainstream

This paper establishes that home schooling is a thriving educational movement both in Canada and the United States. It also empirically demonstrates that the academic and socialization outcomes for the average home schooled child are superior to those experienced by the average public school student. More

Rudner HSDLA Research Home Educated Test Scores/Family Demographics

20,760 student achievement test scores and their family demographics make this the largest study of home education to date. Results demonstrate that home schooled students are doing exceptionally well and provide an informative portrait of America's modern home education movement. Conducted by Dr. Lawrence M. Rudner, Director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation. More

Brian Ray HSDLA Home Education Success

This study demonstrates that home schooling works. It suggests that direct parental involvement and hard work are the keys to educational success. Regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, parent education level, teacher certification, or the degree of government regulation, the academic achievement scores of home educated students significantly exceed those of public school students. Home school students are fully engaged in society and experience a wide range of opportunities outside the home. They are smart users of both technology and their time. And graduates are equipped to pursue their aspirations — work or college. Contrary to the often speculative opinions of critics, the facts from this study demonstrate success. More

See also Demographic Traits and Achievements Homeschool Students USA 2010

Socialisation: Homeschoolers are in the Real World

Several studies have been done to measure homeschoolers' "self-concept," which is the key objective indicator for establishing a child's self-esteem. A child's degree of self-esteem is one of the best measurements of his ability to successfully interact on a social level. One such study was conducted by John Wesley Taylor, using the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale to evaluate 224 home-schooled children. The study found that 50 percent of the children scored above the 90th percentile, and only 10.3 percent scored below the national average. More