The Pioneer Institute, a public policy think-tank out of Boston, released a major study this past week on homeschooling. Their conclusion:

States should do more to acknowledge the viability of homeschooling as an education option, and provide direction and information for parents seeking non-traditional schooling.

The authors of the study make several recommendations, including a call for states to recognize the need for alternative assessment methods in evaluating the academic progress of homeschoolers. “While it may make sense to impose standardized assessments on public schools in which all students are learning the same things at the same grade level, these types of assessments do not translate well to a homeschool environment where the output, mastery of subject matter, is deemed more important than letter grades, seat time and time on task.”

Another recommendation made by the authors is for state-run education websites that link to private or parochial schools to also link to homeschooling organizations and support groups. They also urge school superintendents to give homeschooling students access to public school districts’ extracurricular activities.

The report includes a recognition that “many homeschoolers strongly believe that governmental support brings regulations, restrictions, and requirements that undermine the essence of homeschooling: parental choice of how, when and where to educate their children, and the freedom to match curricula and lessons to their children’s individual learning styles.”

Other interesting findings include:

  • The two million homeschoolers in the United State reduce public education cost by $22 billion each year.
  • Homeschooling is gradually becoming more diverse. “The extraordinary growth of homeschooling in the 21st century has resulted in numbers are much more reflective of  the country’s overall demographics.”
  • Though homeschoolers continue to outscore public and private school students on the SAT, they trail private school students on ACT scores.