Experts caution about Christian homeschooling advocacy groups

In the latest Peabody Journal of Education, professor Lubienski and colleagues critique the work of homeschooling advocacy research. According to Mr. Gaither’s review of the article, at the International Center for Home Education Research (ICHER) blog, Lubienski critiques the three most common claims.

The article argues that the existing studies do not in point of fact demonstrate academic superiority because of the unrepresentative nature of the samples. Gaither continues:

“[Lubienski ] notes that Ray and Rudner, who was also funded by HSLDA, admit as much in the original studies, but that doesn’t stop HSLDA and even Ray himself from throwing caution to the wind and claiming a causal relationship between homeschooling and academic and social success.”

What the studies do show, it is argued, is that “children from privileged backgrounds who homeschool do well on standardized tests, just as they would have done had they attended public or private schools.”

The latest study by Dr. Ray (of 2014), according to Lubienski, actually has contradictory data to the popular claims of homeschooling academic superiority. His latest study (here) discovered no statistical difference in academic scores between students who just began homeschooling and those who have homeschooled longer.

Mr. Gaither’s own study of homeschooling academic success draws similar conclusions as does a recent independent, investigative news article.

For Christians who homeschool, this is important data missing from many State homeschooling organizations and conferences. Instead, too many of them promote homeschooling, not as a viable and even desirable alternative, but as a command of God, a morally superior method or the best hope for America. And what Christian mother needs that kind of pressure upon her?

There is much help for homeschoolers out in the market place. But Christians home educators need to be more aware of the advocacy character of many homeschooling organizations. Such a character coupled with human nature can lead to exaggerated claims. And in fact it has.

The Peabody Journal of Education has several other articles on the topic of homeschooling reviewed by homeschooling expert Mr. Gaither. Covering a range of opinions and perspectives, the Journal includes an article by Dr. Ray as well.

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