Those who homeschool their children for religious or moral reasons make up 91 percent of the nation’s two million homeschooling families, New Republic reports.
It is clear that many families who choose the homeschool alternative to private or public school education want to be able to raise their children to be strong, conservative Christians.
Writing for New Republic, Milton Gaither examines if children who grew up in a homeschool environment actually end up being more committed to their faith than children who went to private or public school.
Gaither states that, in general, the U.S. is becoming more secular, and each new generation tends to be less religious than their parents.
However, family dynamics greatly impact a child’s religious views. Studies show that having a strong bond with a devout father is particularly instrumental in whether children will continue to identify with the religion in which they were raised.
Gaither says that Baylor University sociologist Jeremy E Uecker found that the kind of schooling a child received actually had less impact on the child’s religion than did the religious devotion modeled by the child’s parents.
Another study, The Cardus Education Survey, similarly found that young adults who were homeschooled were not noticeably different in their religious views from their peers who had attended private religious schools, although the study did find that young adults who were homeschooled tended to be more religious than their peers who attended public or Catholic schools.
Studies also found that homeschooled children who went to college tended to become more tolerant and less dogmatic in their religious views than their parents. In addition, there was a correlation between how authoritarian the child’s parents were to how liberalized the child became as he or she grew up and moved away from home.
In general, Gaither summarizes, the studies showed that most homeschooled children who were raised in Christian homes continued in their faith, as did most children who were raised in Christian homes who went to public or private school.
The family climate, then, Gaither says, is a much greater influence on the faith of a child than the type of school the child attends.
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Publication date: October 2, 2015