Homeschooled children are friendlier, more independent, and more socially developed than their peers from public or private schools. They also have higher self-esteem.

These findings come from a new study by the Fraser Institute, a public-policy organization in Vancouver, British Columbia. "Popular belief holds that homeschooled children are socially backward and deprived, but research shows the opposite: that homeschooled children are actually better socialized than their peers," says Claudia Hepburn, director of education policy at the institute.

The study says these benefits may come from having parents, rather than peers, as primary behavior models. Extracurricular activities and homeschool associations may also provide social settings.

The study also finds that by eighth grade, homeschooled students perform four grade levels above the national average. Homeschooled students tend to score significantly higher on standardized college entrance tests.

The American Federation of Teachers declined CT's request for comment on the study. But Janet Bass of the aft told Baptist Press that it is not possible to compare results from homeschools and public or private schools. "They're two totally different environments," Bass said.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 850,000 students in the United States were homeschooled in 1999.

Related Elsewhere

The Fraser Institute has a media release and a pdf of the study available online.

Our parenting site's Home School Center has helpful hints on deciding what schooling option is best for your children.

More Christianity Today articles on public and private schools are available in our education area.

Last month, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre wrote that homeschooling has "obvious selling points (control of curriculum, integration of faith and learning, control of social influences) and involves some tradeoffs (the danger of insularity, fewer encounters with differences that provide chances to rethink one's own worldview more complexly).

In May, Christianity Today looked at "Two Schools of Thought | Many parents wonder what's best for their children—Christian or public education. Two Dallas schools suggest an answer."

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