A Systematic Review of the Empirical Research on Selected Aspects of Homeschooling as a School Choice

A systematic review of the empirical research on selected aspects of  homeschooling as a school choice

This is a review of peer-reviewed homeschool research in the Journal of School Choice, by Brian D. Ray

Brian D. Ray

Journal of School Choice, Pages 604-621 | Published online: 27 Nov 2017

In this article

•        Methods

•        Research evidence on the demographic characteristics of homeschoolers

•        Research evidence on reasons for homeschooling

•        Research evidence on the academic achievement of the homeschooled

•        Research evidence on the social development of the home educated

•        Research evidence on the relative success of the homeschooled into college and adulthood

•        Discussion: thoughts on the future of research on homeschooling and the choice of home education


This article gives the demographic characteristics of the U.S. homeschooling population and the reasons that parents choose to homeschool, summarizes the findings of studies on the homeschool learner outcomes of academic achievement, social development, and success in adulthood, and proposes future research on parent-led home-based education. The majority of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement reveal a positive effect for the homeschooled students compared to institutional schooled students, while a few studies show mixed or negative results. Regarding social and emotional development, a large majority of studies show clearly positive outcomes for the homeschooled compared to those in conventional schools. A majority of the studies on the relative success of the home-educated who later became adults show positive outcomes for the homeschooled compared to those who had been in conventional schools. I recommend that the existing literature be enhanced by well-controlled non-experimental designs to examine adults who were homeschooled in terms of an array of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding lifelong learning, rates of public welfare dependency, and degree of personal agency or self-efficacy.

KEYWORDS: academic achievementcollege studentshomeschoolingsocial development, home schooling, home education