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BOSTON, Mass. — Homeschooling children has its pros and cons, just like any other educational choice parents make — like public or private school. Now, a new study reveals homeschooled kids see other benefits beyond the classroom. Researchers from Harvard University find homeschooling makes a child less likely to try drugs, binge drink, or engage in casual sex when they become adults.

As for the cons, however, the team also finds homeschool students are also less likely to attain a college degree.

With the majority of youngsters learning at home (many with their parent’s help) during the pandemic, many families may be considering whether to switch to homeschooling full-time moving forward. Teaching curriculums in certain states, which some parents claim are teaching controversial material or not preparing youths for the real world, are also fueling the rising popularity of the homeschooling option.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, around 3.3 percent of children across America have opted for homeschooling since 2012. However, officials believe that number may have doubled heading into 2021.

Does homeschooling give kids a greater sense of purpose?

The new research shows that while teaching kids at home has its positives — such as being more likely to engage in volunteer work — higher education rates suffer once children leave the home. More than three in four homeschooled students (77%) do not go on to college or seek further qualifications later in life.

Homeschooled children, however, are overwhelmingly more likely to attend religious services and be more “forgiving” of others, according to researchers. The study finds they are also somewhat less likely to use cannabis and have a lower average number of sexual partners during their lifetime.

The researchers used data from 12,288 adolescent children of nurses enrolled in the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS) in the United States.

“In a sample of adolescent children of reasonably well-educated parents, we found, on average, little difference in subsequent young adult health and wellbeing outcomes comparing those who attended public schools versus private schools,” says Dr. Tyler VanderWeele of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in a media release.

“Those who were home-schooled were less likely to go on to attend college than those in public schools, but they were subsequently more likely to volunteer, to be forgiving, to have a sense of purpose, and to engage in healthier behaviors.”

When it comes to the impact of remote learning during lockdown, studies and polls have found mixed results. While some researchers find learning from home can provide youngsters with benefits over traditional classroom learning, many parents disagree. One poll reveals that American parents believe their children fell two full grades behind while learning remotely during COVID-19.

The study appears in the journal PLOS ONE.

SWNS writer Joe Morgan contributed to this report.

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