Strengths of Their Own

The Information, Research,

and Insight on

Home Schooling

You've Been Waiting For!



This book, by Dr. Brian Ray, President of the National Home Education Research Institute, presents his new nationwide study and will give you:

  • Students' academic achievement
  • Basic demographic data on families and children
  • Longitudinal data on families and children studied earlier in 1990
  • Data on 5,402 children from 1,657 families from across the United States
  • Findings on policy issues such as:
    • Is there a relationship between parents' education level and student achievement?
    • Is student achievement related to whether parents are certified teachers?
    • Is the degree of state regulation of home schooling related to student achievement?
  • Computer usage
  • Curricula used
  • Money spent on home education
  • Strengths of home schooling—for example:
    • Parents Choose to Build Strong Families
    • Parents Take Primary Responsibility—and Participate in Their Villages
    • The Home Education Environment is Linked to High Academic Achievement—and Why
    • Home Education May Ameliorate the Negative Effects of Background Variables on Students' Achievement
    • Home Education Builds Up Society
    • Parents and Their Children Do Well With Minimal State Regulation
    • The Home Educated Succeed in Adulthood

Price: $12.95 plus 15% shipping/handling, paperback book, go to order form.

"Unique, factual, and powerful. In Dr. Ray's Strengths of Their Own we find that parents who take personal responsibility for the education and socialization of their children reap a harvest of exceptional children who are well prepared to lead this country into the next century. All parents who care and anyone with a stake in the issue of home education must read this book."Michael P. Farris, J.D., President, Home School Legal Defense Association.

"Strengths of Their Own, Brian D. Ray's remarkable book about the home schooling movement, is must reading for educators and policy makers alike. ….. The book is a perfectly spiced stew: it has everything. Hard data … Students' scores … Statistical analysis … Testing policies … And wisdom—the benefit of Dr. Ray's long, intense commitment and involvement with home education. [And] it's in the `strengths of home education' section of Strengths of Their Own that the book really takes off." Bruce S. Cooper, Ph.D., Professor, Division of Administration, Policy, and Urban Education, Fordham University, New York

Here are some excerpts from Strengths of Their Own:

>From Chapter 1, Introduction to the Study

“Effective educational approaches have been ever-elusive since professional educators, compulsory attendance laws, and state-controlled schools grew ubiquitous in America during the late 1800s. Many people have reported on changes in education and schooling and the search for schools that effectively teach children (Blumenfeld, 1984, p. 37; Duffy, 1995; Hirsch, 1996; Lieberman, 1993; National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983; Perelman, 1992; Sowell, 1993; Toch,1991b; Tyack, 1974). One explanation for the elusiveness of effectiveness is that before the 1900s maybe no one was interested in evaluating the state of education nationwide. Or, it may be that professional educators and government schools caused effective approaches to become extinct. A third explanation may be that an effective educational approach was nonexistent before the late 1800s and is simply yet to be discovered and implemented. Regardless of the true cause of failure to arrive at successful education for the masses in the United States, hundreds of thousands of parents have decided to not wait for professional educators and government-controlled schools to serve their children. These parents have literally taken the education of their children into their own hands—they home educate them.”

“Despite attempts at dissuasion such as those by the NEA and the NASBE, parents continue to make the choice of home education for their children.”

>From Chapter 3, Findings:

“The students scored, on the average, at the following percentiles on standardized achievement tests: (a) total reading, 87th, (b) total language, 80th, (c) total math, 82nd, (d) total listening, 85th, (e) science, 84th, (f) social studies, 85th, (g) study skills, 81st, (h) basic battery (typically, reading, language, and mathematics), 85th, and (i) complete battery (all subject areas in which student was tested), 87th. (Note: The average score on standardized tests for the norm group, largely conventional school students, in all of the preceding categories is the 50th percentile. See Appendix A, the normal curve with percentile equivalents.)”

“Seven of the 12 independent variables did not explain statistically significant amounts of variance in students’ test scores. These 7 were (1) father’s [teacher] certification status, (2) mother’s [teacher] certification status, (3) family income, (4) money spent on home education, (5) legal status of family, (6) time spent in formal educational activities, and (7) age at which began formal education.”

>From Chapter 4, Conclusions and Commentary

“The first strength [of home schooling] is that parents can — and do — choose to construct and maintain strong, stable families that provide a nourishing home education environment for their children’s learning and social development. Evidence for this comes in several forms.”

“The second strength is that these parents accept and fulfill their responsibility to personally raise and educate their children. That is, they do not excessively depend on their villages, their communities and the state, to raise and educate their children.”

“The fourth strength is that home education may be conducive to eliminating the potential negative effects of certain background factors. Low family income, low parental educational attainment, parents not having formal training as teachers, race or ethnicity of the student, gender of the student, not having a computer in the home, infrequent usage of public services (e.g., public libraries), a child commencing formal education relatively later in life, relatively small amounts of time spent in formal educational activities, and a child having a large (or small) number of siblings seem to have little influence on the academic achievement of the home educated. (Several references were provided earlier.) More specifically, in home education, educational attainment of parents, gender of student, and income of family may have weaker relationships to academic achievement than they do in public schools.”

“The parents spent, on average, $546 per child per year for home education (and the median was $400). State schools spent an average of $5,325 per student (pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade) during school year 1993-94 (United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1996). This cost in state schools did not include construction, equipment and debt financing. The highest per-pupil expenditure was $9,075 in New Jersey; the lowest was $3,206 in Utah. It is clear that the direct costs of public (state-run) schooling in the United States are at least 975% (or about 10 times as much) of what the home education families in this study spent on educational materials and services.”

“Finally, the seventh strength is that home education appears to prepare students to be successful and productive adults.”

“More importantly, however, the lives of the home educated in decades to come and the heritage that they bequeath to their children may inscribe a sweeping, indelible, and immeasurable mark on the history of 21st-century America.”

>From Chapter 2, Methodology

“The [questionnaire] instrument has four parts:

  • A. Descriptive information regarding parents and family (e.g., demographics, teacher certification status of parents).
  • B. Information regarding the home education legal status of the family (e.g., contact with public school officials and with attorneys).
  • C. Information regarding the students (e.g., demographics, years home schooled, academic achievement scores, curriculum used).
  • D. Information regarding volunteering to participate in a longitudinal study (e.g., parents' names, address).”

“The target population was all families in the United States who were educating their school-age children at home. An attempt was made to utilize a sample that was more representative than the one studied by Ray (1990b).” “First class mail was used to distribute a total of 5,995 copies of the instrument to individual home education families and home education support groups in all states …”

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