Which is better: homeschooling or traditional schooling? It’s a question we see a lot, especially as homeschoolers. Traditional schooling has been the “mainstream” model of education for a very long time, and it’s often the metric that we measure other types of education against. Homeschooling critics often frame their criticism by referencing milestones set by traditional schooling methods. The reality, however, is that homeschooled children often outperform students in both public and private traditional models of education.
In fact, new research supports the fact that not only has homeschooling hit the mainstream, but homeschooled kids are doing better across academic and social spectrums than their traditionally educated peers. Let’s take a look at the facts about how homeschooling sets kids up for success throughout their entire lives.
Homeschooling and Test Scores
Homeschooling has increased in popularity in the last decade, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many parents saw the option of homeschooling as simply better than the alternative and decided to make the transition. During the 2020-2021 school year, there were roughly 3.7 million homeschooled children or around 7% of the total school-aged kids. Even though the growth of homeschooled kids is about 2-8% each year, COVID spiked those numbers, and they don’t appear to be returning to a pre-pandemic baseline.
Over 78% of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement show that homeschooled children perform better than their peers within the institutionalized education system. Moreover, there does not appear to be a link between higher state regulation of homeschooling and the achievement of homeschooled children. There is also no link between the success of homeschooled children and their parent’s education level. Finally, homeschooled kids do better on the ACT and SAT than institutionally-educated peers.
Where homeschooling may have been seen as a fringe practice, or something more closely associated with religious beliefs, that’s no longer the case. A broad demographic of religious and non-religious people have selected this education model in the last few years, and it has finally entered the mainstream.
While many people engaged in homeschooling follow a traditional model, Montessori homeschooling is becoming hugely popular across all populations and demographics. With its personalized, child-driven model and whole-child approach, families who use the Montessori Method experience phenomenal results.
Why is homeschool better than public school?
Continuing to look at the statistics, homeschooled children seem to do better academically than students in public schools. For instance, children attending schools in California are ranking in the 33rd percentile but homeschooled children are showing above-average test scores across the board. Harvard professor Paul Peterson was part of a panel investigating the efficacy of homeschooling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of that panel can be summed up by Paul Peterson himself:
“Homeschooling works, and it works well. Homeschooling has secured its place as a permanent fixture in American education.”
Homeschooling allows for flexibility that is highly beneficial for students of all ages. In particular, Montessori homeschooling is wonderful for both gifted and special needs students, two groups that often suffer in the cookie-cutter world of traditional education.
More than anything, both the results of homeschooling during the pandemic and the findings of modern research indicate that homeschooling is highly beneficial for students, especially when compared to the traditional model.
How Montessori homeschooling sets up successful adults
Maria Montessori focused on the whole child, a concept that ensures their development as cohesive, whole humans. This approach both recognizes them as people with feelings and thoughts that are important, and also gives them plenty of autonomy and responsibility. Children who grow up with this method of instruction are more confident, in better control of their emotions and impulses, and tend to be better leaders. The whole-child approach ensures proper physical, cognitive, social and emotional development.
Physical Benefits of Homeschooling
By adapting your home environment to be accessible by your children, you create a sense of both self-reliance and responsibility within them. A child who can pick out their own clothes, get their own educational materials, teach and learn from siblings, and who is guided by the very people who know them best, discovers a universe if possibilities unavailable to children in traditional schools. We tend to think we should do everything for our kids, but teaching them self-reliance is powerful for their self-esteem and general development.
Children who are given this level of physical openness when they’re young will learn self-reliance and carry it with them into adulthood. Self-assured adults tend to work well with others, often becoming natural leaders.
Cognitive Benefits of Homeschooling
Montessori classrooms are child-driven, and so while you create the Montessori curriculum, they drive the learning. This hands-on approach creates a desire to learn and gives them the space to fully explore their interests. As this exploration branches out, more topics are examined and the connection between language, science, math, and nature occurs organically. Children taught in this way tend to be creative thinkers, and seek out innovative solutions to problems, both hugely important concepts as adults.
Social Benefits of Montessori Homeschooling
One of the biggest myths when it comes to Montessori - and of homeschooling in general - is that children don’t get the socialization they do in traditional schools. This isn’t a concern you should have, though. While Montessori classrooms are multi-age and foster collaboration with other students, even in single-child homes, there are plenty of opportunities to learn how to interact with other people and your shared space. In fact, homeschooled children often have more time for social and character building activities such as sports, clubs and entrepreneurship.
Montessori in particular focuses on respecting other people, being polite and gracious, sharing, and respecting other people, property, and the environment. Children are expected to help clean up and take care of everything around them. Because of this, they grow into respectful, tidy, and caring adults.
Emotional Benefits of Montessori Homeschooling
It’s very easy to dismiss tantrums and frustration from children as “kids being kids”, but the Montessori Method doesn’t do this. Children are looked at as the humans they are, complete with complex emotions that can feel overwhelming for their little bodies. A large part of your job as a homeschooler is to be an example of self-correction and emotional control. Demonstrating that their feelings are valid and then showing them how to express them constructively is a wonderful way to deal with the big emotions of youth.
When children are taught that their emotions are valid and powerful, and then given the tools to express those emotions healthfully, they grow up into emotionally intelligent adults. Emotional intelligence isn’t something that’s considered terribly much in traditional schools - children who misbehave are punished and that’s it. Taking a Montessori approach to discipline looks quite different. Montessori-homeschooled children grow up understanding far more nuance and emotional depth, and it serves them well as grown-ups.
In fact, studies show that children who attend Montessori programs handle conflict resolution better than their non-homeschooled peers, and outperform them on executive function tasks.
Montessori removes socioeconomic obstacles
There is no denying that the quality of the school you attend is beholden to the financial health of the area in which you live. Poor neighborhoods tend to have worse schools and worse outcomes for the children therein. Homeschooling in general breaks down that barrier and allows all children equal access to quality education.
The misconception that Montessori is only for the very rich isn’t true for homeschool Montessori programs. Here the path is made equal, and children from all walks of life can benefit from the tremendous opportunities that Montessori homeschooling has to offer. In fact, at Multisori, we offer a scholarship program that benefits homeschool families in need, so that more students can reap the benefits of this teaching method.
Homeschooling leads to adult success
Homeschooled kids do better academically than their peers taught in traditional institutions. Additionally, homeschooling has become a mainstream option for educating children, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because peer-reviewed studies are proving how effective it is. More students than ever before are in some form of homeschooling, and it’s growing by about 2-8% each year.
Montessori homeschooling in particular focuses on the whole child, preparing them for adulthood by teaching more than just academic preparedness. The Montessori Method prepares a child physically, emotionally, cognitively, and socially by instilling self-reliance, responsibility, gratitude, and politeness. They grow up to be leaders, confident in their abilities, and ready to be effective stewards of their environment.
Many studies have reported on the ability of homeschooling programs to break down barriers to education that exist because of socioeconomic status. Low-income families whose children are homeschooled in the Montessori method shatter expectations of socioeconomic influence in academic, emotional, and social measures.
Studies indicate that Montessori students grow up happier, more effective adults, ranking higher in job satisfaction, academic performance, and even marital success. Homeschooling in general is apparently better for academic success, and Montessori specifically prepares children for a lifetime of self-reliance, confidence, and success.
Be sure to pin this article so that the next time you find yourself dealing with homeschool criticism, you can show the naysayers just how well research shows that successful homeschooling means raising kids to become successful adults.