BAM Family

BAM Family

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Adult Homeschoolers Speak Out: Survey Stats and thoughts about large homeschooling families

Here are the demographic statistics from the survey I conducted about the experiences of adults who were homeschooled. Want to know what inspired this survey? Click here!

Want to see the results of this survey? Click here: 
Part 8: The best thing/ What was missing
Part 9: Do former homeschoolers want to homeschool? 
Part 10: Adult Homeschoolers Speak Out: Stereotypes: Better or worse today?

To better understand the following data, here is my own demographic information:

Name: Brittany Arpke Meng
Born in: Nebraska
Grew up in: Kansas
Currently live in: Virginia
Age: 28
Number of siblings: 4
Number of years homeschooled: 12 (1st-12th)
Marital status: Married; spouse was not homeschooled

Total number of surveys: 44
Women: 34
Men: 10
(Sadly, the results are a little estrogen heavy, but the male perspective I received was excellent!)

Current info about levels of government regulation for homeschoolers per state
Photo curtesy of this website
These homeschoolers grew up in:
Kansas (16)
Virginia (7)
South Dakota (3)
New York (2)
Nebraska (2)
Florida (2)
New Mexico
North Dakota
South Carolina
North Carolina

Military family (3)

These adults now live in: 
Virginia (13)
Kansas (6)
Mississippi (2)
Georgia (2)
Florida (2)
California (2)
Oklahoma (2)
North Carolina
West Virginia

Japan (2)
Cayman Islands

Age range: 18-37 (my minimum requirement was for the participant to be out of the house for at least one year)
Average age: 26
Fun fact: this means that earliest these families started homeschooling was around 1980! 

Number of siblings range: 0-13
Average: 3 siblings

Number of years homeschooled range: 5-13
Average: 11 years

Marital status:
22 married (4 spouses had homeschooling experience)
16 single
2 Divorced
2 Engaged
2 in a relationship

I included the sibling information because, in my own experience, homeschooling families tend to have large families. As you can see, the range of siblings in each family is pretty dramatic (from an only child to a family of 14 children!) The average of 4 children in a family seems pretty "normal" to me. Many homeschoolers talked about relationships with siblings in the surveys so that is why I included this information.

I also wondered though, "Does the "largeness" of a family affect the homeschooling experience positively or negatively?" I didn't receive overwhelming data on this point but I think that two examples may provide a good contrast to answer this question.

M. M. a 29 year old from CA was the oldest of 8 children. She describes a negative experience related to family size:

"My mom didn't seem to be involved very much in my individual learning or invested in only my education since there was so many kids. I felt this was a disadvantage to me . . .My mom would start at the youngest child and work her way up to the oldest in going over their homework, teaching, etc. I don't think she got to me very often."

In 12th grade, M. M. did her homeschooling with another family where the other mother kept all of the young people accountable for their work.

This is just one example, of course. But in this case, family size seemed like a detriment to M.M's homeschooling experience.

Contrasted with this is Beka R's story, a 25 year old from Kansas and the 2nd oldest in a family of 14 children. Though Beka came from the largest family in survey group, she implied that academics were a very strong focus and stated that family relationships were the most positive part of her experience:

"One of the best things homeschooling did was allow for strong family relationships - we had school on Saturdays and had Thursdays off because that reflected my dad's work schedule, and those Thursdays with my dad are something I've always cherished. I think that the primary influencers of my foundational years were my parents and grandparents, and that is something that has always shaped my values."

Most responders had a very strong family and the number of children did not seem to negatively affect the homeschooling experience (or they didn't mention it). I think it is interesting that homeschoolers have large families though and, in my own experience, homeschooling helped make relationships with my family stronger.

What do you think? 

Did you come from a large family who homeschooled? Did it enhance or take away from your education?

Please comment or ask any questions!


Ann Kroeker said...

Looking forward to more on this!

Anonymous said...

I was expecting to read answers to questions about homeschooling, particularly whether they planned to homeschool their own children. Hope you're able to gather more info soon! My kids have mixed emotions/opinions about their experience being homeschooled. We started in 1989, so I guess I'm fringe first-generation.

Brittany said...

Thanks for your comment! I actually will be covering that topic in a later post. I received so much data (almost 60 pages of surveys) so I am breaking up each question/topic into separate posts. I hope you keep reading! And please feel free to share your experience as a first-generation homeschool parent. :) I am sure current homeschool families would value your ideas and opinions.

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