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Schoolchildren tend to grow up to be “well-adjusted and responsible” young adults

The results of a study by researchers at Harvard University revealed that homeschoolers grow into generally “well-adjusted” young adults, showing in particular characteristics of “responsibility” and social engagement.

Harvard Human Flourishing Program researchers Brendan Case and Ying Chen discussed Chen’s analysis of data on more than 12,000 child nurses in a recent column of the the Wall Street newspaper.

The researchers used data collected from nurses, all of whom had responded to surveys from 1999 to 2010, to examine how type of school, independently estimated by factors such as socioeconomic status, race, and region , affected adolescents on a variety of long-term outcomes, including educational attainment, mental health, and social inclusion.

Case and Chen found that while home-schooled students in their sample were 23% less likely to attend college than public school students, they were “33% more likely to volunteer, 31% more forgiving. and 51% more likely to attend religious services ”as young adults than public school students.

Elaborating on the issue of attendance at religious services, the researchers wrote:

The difference in religious participation has implications for public health, since those who regularly attend services have significantly lower risks of substance abuse, depression, and suicide. They also have a lower risk of premature death for any reason than those who never attend.

“Education matters a lot, but a particularly short-sighted parent would have to be indifferent to the loss of these larger possessions as long as their child obtains a bachelor’s degree,” Case and Chen said of the results of college attendance.

Kerry McDonald, senior education researcher at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), asked researchers about educational outcomes, also considering their dataset concluded in 2010.

McDonald wrote:

Some media clung to this finding in their headlines, while ignoring speculation from Harvard academics that it could be due to a variety of factors. Home-schooled students might choose alternatives to college as a pathway to adulthood, and college admission practices can create barriers for home-schooled students.

“We are also pleased to see that some colleges, including some leading colleges, have become more flexible in their admission policies for home students in recent years,” Chen replied to McDonald, who added. :

Indeed, more and more colleges and universities have put in place clearer guidelines and policies for home-schooled students in recent years, and many are now keen to attract home-schooled applicants. In 2015, Business intern noted that home schooling is the “new path to Harvard,” and in 2018, the university introduced several of its homeschooled students.

Case and Chen also speculated that house students might experience even more “well-being” than public school students since the data set ended in 2010.

She commented to McDonald’s:

For example, social media apps have arrived on smartphones in recent years, leading to their widespread adoption by teens and even the youngest. Some previous studies have suggested that such increasing use of smartphones may have contributed to recent huge spikes in teenage depression, anxiety and school loneliness. Cyberbullying, sexting and “phubbing” have also become more common in children’s daily lives, especially at school. One would expect these problems to be less common among homeschoolers than among their public school peers.

Researchers’ Newspaper op-ed explained the study’s findings in the context of intense criticism leveled against home schooling by Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, who argued for a “presumed ban” on home schooling, claiming that children and society are at risk due to the lack of regulation of home schooling.

After receiving considerable backlash for his views, Bartholet has stepped up attacks on homeschooling, asserting his opinion that parents who have done so are predominantly “right-wing Christian conservatives” who can abuse their children. .

In an interview with the Harvard Journal in May 2020, Bartholet said:

In recent decades, right-wing Christian conservatives have become the dominant group in terms of numbers, and they have completely taken over in terms of political activism. Their power lies in their ideological fervor, their tactics and the absence of any significant organized opposition. Many academics and the country’s largest teacher unions have found home schooling deeply problematic.

Nonetheless, as Case and Chen observed, school closures during the pandemic led more parents to eventually drop out of brick-and-mortar schools and opt for home schooling as their lifelong education choice.

In late March, the US Census Bureau reported that 11.1 percent of K-12 students in the country are now homeschooled, a significant increase from 5.4 percent when schools were closed. entered into force in March 2020, and compared to 3.3. percent of families who homeschooled before the pandemic.

The same Census Bureau report showed that home schooling rates were increasing among black families. It was found that the proportion of home schooling in the black community increased from 3.3% in spring 2020 to 16.1% in fall 2020.

“[I]It seems certain that a sharp increase in home schooling will be a lasting consequence of the pandemic, ”wrote Case and Chen in Newspaper.

“The image of the homeschooled student that emerges from the data does not resemble the socially awkward and ignorant stereotype that Ms. Bartholet and others appeal to,” they observed. “On the contrary, home-schooled children tend to grow up to be well-adjusted, responsible and socially engaged young adults. “

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