Homeschooling has grown phenomenally during the past 30 years around the world, and especially during the past two years. For example, “The number of homeschooling families approved by the Israel Ministry of Education increased by 700% from 2005 through 2019” (Madara & BenDavid-Hadar, 2021). Numerous studies have examined the demographics and academic achievement of home-educating families and the students (e.g., Ray, 2017). An increasing number of scholars have become focused on an increasingly wider variety of topics with respect to homeschooling. Recently, Michal Unger Madara and Iris BenDavid-Hadar probed the creative thinking and social competencies of home-educated children. This brief review will touch upon only the former topic in the study.
The researchers aimed to evaluate the creative thinking of homeschool children. “Creative thinking refers to the creative process of discovering new affiliations, conclusions, and connections …” (p. 7). To do this, the investigators gathered data from 549 participants who were between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. Of these, 280 were homeschooled students and 269 were public conventional (traditional) school students.
Creative thinking was the explained variable and was measured by using The Test for Creative Thinking Drawing Production (TCT-DP). “The test includes six geometric shapes inside a large square frame that serve as the test pattern. Participants are asked to complete the picture as they see fit” (p. 12).
The explanatory variables were (a) child’s background variables (i.e., sex, age, and country of origin), (b) parents’ background variables (i.e., education, number of children; and (c) background variables of the community (i.e., residential area). The mediating or independent variable was homeschooling or public schooling. Six regression models examined the relationships between the variables.
None of the background variables was statistically significant in terms of explaining variance in creative thinking. “Model III reveals a significant statistical relationship between type of education and creative thinking (β = 0.43***). More specifically, students who are homeschooled have a higher level of creative thinking than students attending public schools” (p. 18). Furthermore, the differences in creative thinking were retained even after statistically controlling for student background variables.
Citing others’ research, scholars Madara and BenDavid-Hadar point out that “… schools have several drawbacks, including traditional teaching methods that interfere with the creative process and even reduce creativity … (p. 19). They also note to a recent study in Jakarta, Indonesia that found homeschooled children ranging in age from 15 to 19 had higher levels of creative thinking than their peers in conventional education settings. Finally, the researchers conclude that their “… study shows that homeschooling may be more effective in terms of developing creative thinking … than traditional learning. Therefore, it can offer a high-quality alternative to public education or private schools for those who choose it” (p. 21).
This is a well-planned, -executed, and –reported study. The area of the creative thinking of the homeschooled has been explored in a very limited number of studies and this piece is a stellar addition to the research base.
Madar, Michal Unger; & BenDavid-Hadar, Iris. (2021). Does home schooling improve creative thinking and social competencies among children? Home schooling in Israel. Journal of School Choice, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15582159.2021.1977584