Are the Kids Alright? Part 1

A Review of a study by Jillene Seiver and Elisa Pope

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There is no empirical evidence of which this author knows that for thousands of years of parent-directed and home-based education people worried that such education was keeping children from growing up to be functionally sociable. Since the early days of the modern homeschool movement, however, a perennial question asked by homeschool families’ neighbors and friends and scholars has been, What about socialization?

Scholars Seiver and Pope (2021) addressed this question by studying the extracurricular activities during childhood and young adulthood of adults who were home educated, public schooled, and private schooled while growing up.


The researchers recruited respondents via online college and university class postings in the Puget Sound area, homeschool group chat boards in Washington State, and via social media. They collected data from 18-25 year olds who were homeschooled (n=30), publicly schooled (n=53), and privately schooled (n=11) during K-12. The average age of the participants was about 21.2. More females than males participated. The participants reported the type of schooling they predominantly experienced during their grade 1-12 school years.

Data were collected on any activity in which the adults participated for at least one year. The activities were divided into categories such as Volunteer (e.g., church service projects, project/community service), Scholastic Extras (e.g., debate, science club), Performance/Fine Arts (e.g., art group, choir, drama production/class), Sports Teams, and Other Clubs (scouting, church youth group). Respondents were also asked about their schooling experiences, such as how many hours per week they spent in each type of schooling.


There was no significant main effect of sex or interactions between sex and any other variable, while the main effect of age was significant and analysis revealed that the highest reported rate of volunteerism was during the 12-17 age range.  Age did not interact with any other variables.

The main effect of schooling was significant and analysis revealed that the publicly educated respondents reported significantly fewer volunteer activities than the privately educated and homeschooled; the latter two were not significantly different from each other. There were no significant interactions. “The main effect of schooling was significant … with higher volunteering rates among the formerly homeschooled respondents …, followed by the formerly privately schooled …, and the formerly publicly schooled” (p. 4).

The effects of schooling type depended on the category of activity. Formerly homeschooled young adults reported significantly higher rates of volunteerism and club participation. There was no significant difference in the rates of participation in scholastic, artistic, or sports activities based on schooling type.


Seiver and Pope concluded as follows:

Formerly homeschooled young adults reported significantly higher rates of the prosocial activities – volunteerism and club participation – which supports the idea that formerly homeschooled young adults are well-socialized. The finding that there is no difference in the rates of participation in scholastic, artistic, or sports activities based on schooling type suggests that young adults participate in these activities for reasons that are unrelated to their K-12 schooling type. There were no main effects of schooling type on rate of participation in any category of activity during the K-12 years; all children in this sample were equally active, regardless of schooling type. Only in young adulthood did the effect of schooling type emerge. (p. 5)

They also held that their “… study supports the notion that homeschooling is a viable way of educating children, not only about academic material, but also about becoming an engaged member of society” (p. 6). Seiver and Pope’s findings are consistent with the majority of other studies on the relatively positive social and emotional development of homeschooled students compared to others (Ray, 2017).

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Ray, Brian D. (2017). A systematic review of the empirical research on selected aspects of homeschooling as a school choice. Journal of School Choice: International Research and Reform, 11(4), 604-621,

Seiver, Jillene Grover; & Pope, Elisa A. (2021). The kids are alright I: Social engagement in young adulthood as a function of k-12 schooling type. Home School Researcher, 36(4), 1-7,