CON: Study shows group scores low on confidence, interaction
BY JENNIFER PREYSS - JLPREYSS@VICAD.COM
Sept. 11, 2011 at 4:11 a.m.
One of the fundamental criticisms of home schooling is it hinders socialization opportunities with peers.
Without access to daily interaction with a classroom of students, home-schooled children may not develop critical interpersonal skills, or learn to problem solve, which some argue are essential in the workplace later in life.
A 2010 study with the National Home Education Research Institute led by Erika M. L. Jones, observed how home learners transitioned to a higher education environment.
Jones' study found 28 students in the sub-sample group, who had been home schooled for at least seven years, achieved high scores on standardized college entrance tests and maintained high grade point averages. But they also scored low on confidence with writing term papers, delivering speeches and choosing not to engage in class discussion as frequently.
A U.S. Department of Education study in 2009 also found 36 percent of parents stated their No. 1 reason to home educate their child was to provide religious or moral instruction, and 21 percent were concerned about the school environment itself.
But Catholic private school Nazareth Academy Principal Scott Kloesel said his students benefit from a well-rounded education that includes a rich multicultural and interfaith experience, as well as a healthy social exchange among peers.
"Students here engage with other students, as well as their teachers," Kloesel said. "They're also surrounded by students of a diverse multicultural background, so they're learning early not just to tolerate differences in people, but to accept and embrace people."
Kloesel said even though Nazareth is based on Catholic doctrine, the students are taught other religions in their religious academic studies.
And because of the constant peer-level interaction they receive throughout the day, students are reinforcing their skills on learning to work together.
"Knowing how to problem solve with others will definitely benefit them when they get into their careers," he said.
Kloesel mentioned the diverse activities and sports offered at the school, which breeds early on, a sense of school pride and confidence.
"Even the kids who don't participate in the activities will come out and support their classmates," he said.
Former home-schooling parent Valerie Mass, 46, said even though she supports home education and does not think it hinders socialization in general, some families aren't cut out for it.
"It really depends on the family. You get out of it what you put in, and not everybody is suited to home school their children," Mass said.