It's Okay More Homeschoolers Are Behind in School - Sonlight Homeschooling Blog (2023)

It's Okay More Homeschoolers Are Behind in School - Sonlight Homeschooling Blog (1)

A 2012 study shows that homeschoolers were [at least] twice as likely to report being behind grade level than non-homeschoolers. Statistically, then, as homeschoolers, we're two to three times more likely to be behind than our publicly educated peers.

Wait. What!?

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Bear with me a moment because even with these numbers mocking us, I firmly believe you made a good choice to homeschool. Here are five reasons it is okay for homeschoolers to be behind in school.

Continue reading below or listen here:

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1. Schools are strange about grade level.

As Sir Ken Robinson points out, we group children by year of manufacture, which is a poor way of doing so. And I'm not really sure how we can claim that so many kids are "on level" when a local school here can fail to teach 84% of 10th graders math. I wouldn't be surprised at all if homeschooled kids had a more robust standard of what it means to be "on level." But even if that isn't the case...

2. Some homeschoolers start because the other systems failed them.

I doubt it's 14% of homeschoolers, but could it be 7%? If so, homeschoolers are right on target and only appear worse off because homeschooling is the only option left. I know some families homeschool because of special needs; of course, I also know homeschoolers who have special needs children in school for the support they receive, so this could be a wash. I don't know, and it doesn't sound like we have enough information to make any kind of statements. So what else is there?

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3. Being on grade isn't our focus.

We both know that homeschoolers have strange priorities. One of the differences is that we are a little more comfortable with letting kids learn at their own pace. This is especially true in the younger years. I was way behind in reading for years. Homeschooling let me grow at my own pace. And today, part of how I earn my living is by writing. So being behind just isn't a disastrous thing for us. We don't get government funding based on how well we can shoehorn kids into batches. We focus on the student.

4. Final outcome is what matters, not the moment of observation.

So what if I was behind a few grades in reading? By letting me slip behind, my parents let me excel. And today, after doing just fine transitioning to public school from homeschooling, the fact that I was not on grade level in reading at one point doesn't matter. But there's one more point I'd like to drive home...

5. Your student is more important than the system.

As homeschoolers, you and I get that. We're homeschooling for our kids. And the study in question demonstrates that religious and structured homeschoolers do great. Sure, we may not always be on level—we may be well ahead for all the data show—but, in the end, we have had great opportunities to be equipped to do whatever God has called us to do. And we have developed a lifelong love of learning while homeschooling with a curriculum we love.

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It's Okay More Homeschoolers Are Behind in School - Sonlight Homeschooling Blog (2)
Left Behind?

So, sure, we homeschoolers may, statistically, be more likely to be behind than their peers. That's fine. There are more important things for us than that.

It's Okay More Homeschoolers Are Behind in School - Sonlight Homeschooling Blog (3)
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Learn more about teaching your children at their own pace and on their own level with Sonlight's book-based homeschool programs. Order a complimentary copy of your catalog today.


What to do when you're behind in homeschool? ›

If you're struggling in homeschooling, figure out something else that will work instead. Find another curriculum. Get some testing for learning disabilities. Play more and spend time outdoors.

What is the most common issue for homeschooled children? ›

The most common was a concern about school environment, such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure (25 percent). Fifteen percent of homeschooled students had parents who reported that the most important reason was a dissatisfaction with the academic instruction at other schools.

How much time does sonlight take each day? ›

In the early years, a solid Sonlight day is from 1.5-3 hours. As your child gets older, that will increase. High school students may spend around 6-8 hours a day, depending on how deeply they want to to tackle subjects.

How do you catch up a child who is behind in school? ›

Here are steps to take if your child is having trouble keeping up at school.
  1. Look for patterns. ...
  2. Know what's typical at different ages. ...
  3. Share what you're seeing with the teacher. ...
  4. Talk to your child's health care provider. ...
  5. Let your child know it's OK. ...
  6. Be open about what's going on.

How many hours a day should I be homeschooling? ›

Most home school parents find that they can effectively homeschool their children in around 2-3 hours each day for 3-5 days each week.

What do psychologists say about homeschooling? ›

These psychologists warned parents that their children may experience difficulty entering “mainstream life” and may not grow up to be “complete people” if taught at home. And a study of parents whose children attended public schools reported that 61% believed homeschooled children were isolated (Gray, 1993).

Are kids better off being homeschooled? ›

Research suggests homeschooled children tend to do better on standardized tests, stick around longer in college, and do better once they're enrolled. A 2009 study showed that the proportion of homeschoolers who graduated from college was about 67%, while among public school students it was 59%.

Do homeschooled kids get better grades? ›

The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is roughly the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.)

Is Sonlight charlotte mason? ›

Sonlight Language Arts incorporates Charlotte Mason principles quite a bit, giving ample opportunities for narration, dictation, and copywork. Of course, the most glaring two words that jumped off the page at you were likely living books. Sonlight families everywhere swoon at the idea of learning through living books.

Is Sonlight Catholic? ›

Sonlight is delighted to serve people who live in over 150 different countries and who come from Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Mormon, Muslim, Jewish, and other religious persuasions as well.

Is Sonlight Common Core? ›

Since Sonlight is not accredited, we are not bound to the "Common Core" standards (you can read more about accreditation here).

Why is my child so far behind in school? ›

Talk with Your Pediatrician

A child's lack of academic progress is often a symptom of more complex issues such as various types and combinations of behavioral, psychological, and learning difficulties. Social stress, illness, and chronic medical problems may also play a role.

What are the negative effects of homeschooling? ›

The Disadvantages Of Homeschooling Your Children
  • Socialization Difficulties. ...
  • Requires More Organization. ...
  • No Big Events To Look Forward To. ...
  • Homeschooling Materials Can Get Expensive. ...
  • Lack Of Facilities. ...
  • Requires More Discipline. ...
  • Fewer Breaks for Parents and Kids, Too! ...
  • Dealing With Criticism.

How do I stop being lonely when homeschooled? ›

How to Keep Your Homeschooled Child from Becoming Lonely
  1. Encourage Socialization. Although it's certainly possible to keep your child well-socialized while homeschooling, it does take more effort than sending them to a public school all day. ...
  2. Get a Pet. ...
  3. Volunteer.
Jan 18, 2021

What causes students to fall behind academically? ›

Factors such as inequitable levels of school funding, unequal distribution of highly qualified and experienced teachers, harsh disciplinary policies, minimally articulated core curriculum, and lack of consistent instructional support can result in a system that causes vulnerable students to continue falling further ...

What to do when your child is behind at school? ›

Take a positive attitude
  1. Focus on the positives as much as possible. Praise what your child achieves, rather than where they have fallen behind.
  2. Speak to your child to get a sense of where they are. ...
  3. Be patient with your child. ...
  4. Help your child find opportunities to rebuild their social and communication skills.

How do I stop being behind in school? ›

The following tips can be modified for students of all ages.
  1. Write Down a List. Adults are always writing down lists, and sometimes the lists themselves become misplaced. ...
  2. Keep a Calendar. ...
  3. Organize Your Papers. ...
  4. Develop a Catching-Up List. ...
  5. Prepare a Daily Homework Schedule. ...
  6. Is Homework Taking Too Long?

Do homeschoolers get more sleep? ›

Meltzer and her colleagues charted the sleep patterns of 407 students. They found that adolescent homeschooled students slept an average of 90 minutes more per night than public and private school students, who were in class an average of 18 minutes before homeschooled children even awoke.

Can I work full time if I'm homeschooled? ›

Absolutely! But again, this requires evaluation of priorities and intentional time planning. Whether you work out of the home or at home, juggling the needs of a job with the desires of homeschooling can be a tough one. Both require extreme demands on your time, attention, and commitment.

How successful are homeschooled students? ›

Homeschooled students perform much better than their counterparts in formal institutional schooling. Peer-reviewed studies indicate that 69% of homeschooled students succeed in college and adulthood. Homeschooled students tend to perform above average on their ACTs and SATs.

Do homeschoolers have better mental health? ›

Homeschooling is also believed to help minimize depression that many students experience due to traditional schooling. Bullying, challenging coursework, and awkward social interactions are primary factors in the depressive tendencies of students who attend brick-and-mortar schools.

Do homeschooled kids struggle socially? ›

HOMESCHOOLED CHILDREN'S SOCIAL skills scores were consistently higher than those of public school students. Differences were most marked for girls and for older children, and encompassed all four of the specific skills tested: cooperation, assertiveness, empathy, and self-control.

Why is homeschooling so stressful? ›

In fact, homeschooling can be incredibly stressful. Balancing home and education has its own unique variety of pitfalls: bad attitudes and dynamics, different learning styles and needs, and the various demands of work/school/living all tangled up under the same roof.

What does the Bible say about homeschooling? ›

Proverbs 1:8 gives the command to children to follow their father's instructions and not to forget their mother's teachings. However, it does not mean that all children should be homeschooled. Reading the verse in the context, we need to remember that in the time of the Bible, there were no formal schools for children.

Are homeschooled kids more socially awkward? ›

Most of this research finds that being homeschooled does not harm children's development of social skills, as measured in these studies. In fact, some research finds that homeschooled children score more highly than children who attend school on measurements of socialization.

What percentage of homeschoolers go to college? ›

2. What Percentage of Homeschooled Students Go to College? According to last year's data, 67% of homeschoolers who graduated from high school get into college, compared to the 57.5% graduation rate of traditionally schooled students.

Do colleges look down on homeschooling? ›

Fortunately, college admissions is handled very similarly for homeschoolers as it is for traditionally schooled students. In fact, many admissions offices actively seek out homeschoolers. Admissions officers evaluate each student within the context of his/her own background and the opportunities they've had.

Are kids happier homeschooled? ›

New Harvard Study: Homeschoolers Turn Out Happy, Well-Adjusted, and Engaged. Homeschooled children fared better than children who attended public schools in many categories.

Why homeschooling is superior? ›

Why You Homeschool. Home is the best place to prepare children for adulthood which is the true meaning of education. Special needs children can learn in a safe environment instead of being made fun of by both teachers and children. Extracurricular activities can be increased or limited to the needs of each family.

What religion is sonlight? ›

Sonlight is a complete, Christian literature-based homeschool curriculum developed for students from preschool through high school.

What style homeschool is sonlight? ›

Sonlight is the complete literature-based, Christian homeschool curriculum that includes everything you need to teach your children: homeschool history, math, science, and more!

What philosophy is sonlight? ›

Sonlight's Language Arts programs are based on the "natural learning" approach. "Natural learning" means children learn by discovery. They observe, analyze, and then seek to emulate what they have seen a master wordsmith do before them.

How do I stop being overwhelmed with homeschooling? ›

Homeschooling Without Feeling Overwhelmed
  1. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. ...
  2. Make a list of the skills that you want to accomplish for the year, not page numbers or books.
  3. Try to teach your children to not be dependent on you for everything.
  4. Find the right tools. ...
  5. Take care of yourself. ...
  6. Listen to your gut.

Is it too late homeschooling? ›

The short and perhaps expected answer — no, it's not too late to homeschool. Whether your child is in finishing elementary school or beginning their senior year of high school, it's never too late to withdraw your child from a traditional school to start homeschooling.


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