An Interview with Greg Voakes: Infographic About Home Schooling

Mar 19, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy

1. Greg, you have just shared with me, what you call  an Infographic….First of all, what exactly is an Infographic?

An Infographic, to put it simply, is information presented as art. Other forms of Infographics go by other names like “Data Visualization”.

2. Can you provide some information about you and what you do?

I am a digital media producer and blogger, specializing in Social Media. I contribute to a few sites such as the Huffington Post, Business Insider, and MediaIte.

3. What was the information on that infographic and why was it developed?

The graphic was created because we wanted to bring something to the table for those considering homeschooling for their children. To be candid, homeschooling has been in the news lately because of comments made by a certain presidential candidate, which is why we thought it would be a pertinent topic. Regardless of political persuasion, believes that access to quality education should be available to anyone. Although homeschooling may not be a good fit for all students, we at least wanted to start a conversation on the topic.

Currently, there are stigmas about homeschoolers that we felt needed to be addressed. We hope that with this graphic some myths would be dispelled and parents who are on the fence would seriously consider this option.

4. Let dissect some of that information on that infographic- first of all, how do homeschooled kids do relative to kids in the public schools?

They score up to 30% higher on standardized exams throughout elementary, middle, and high school. When they get to college, students keep on succeeding; Homeschool freshmen at the end of their first year: GPA 3.41 The rest of their class: 3.12. And as seniors their average GPA was 3.46 versus 3.16 for other seniors. Homeschool students graduated from college at a higher rate (66.7%) than their peers (57.5%).

However, academic success is only one piece of the equation. We think the biggest misnomer about students who were homeschooled is their ability to socialize. Anecdotally we know this isn’t true but wanted to reinforce the fact with actual data.

5. What about social skills, communication skills and ADL skills?

Homeschoolers actually perform better in communication and maturity assessments. In a study measuring communication, daily living skills, socialization, and maturity, homeschoolers outscored public school kids on every level: [9]

Communication  Daily living   Socialization  Maturity
Home:         113.45         112.10         109.50       115.55
Public:          98.08          90.77             95.08        93.00

As mentioned earlier, this is one of the biggest misnomers about students who are homeschooled that we wanted to dispel.

6. Who developed this infographic, and where was the data culled from?

Our site aggregates and provides open courseware giving people access to classes from top tier institutions. The education system can be prohibitive for many people because of cost or time. We at have combined technology with a thirst for knowledge to provide a site where students can connect with a source for education.

7. Now, your thoughts, ideas, opinions- why do homeschooled children seem to do better? Is it the individual attention, the curriculum, or the parental investment?

They succeeded no matter how much money was spent on their education: Parents spent $600 or more on the student—89th percentile; Parents spent under $600 on the student—86th percentile. They also did well whether or not their parents (the parent teaching them) were certified teachers or not. Students of certified parents scored in the 87th percentile, while students of non-certified parents were in the 88th percentile.  It’s likely a matter of comfort; students learning at home do not face the same distractions and pressures as their public-schooled counterparts.  Also, I believe the reason homeschoolers do well is simply because they had people around them who care. Having the proper support and the basic tools necessary for a proper education gives homeschools a great advantage.

8. Overall, I think there are about 2 million kids being homeschooled, which seems to show some dissatisfaction with the public schools- are the public schools getting the message or are they just trying to help kids make AYP?

To be fair, I don’t believe every parent is able, technically or financially, to homeschool their children. Public School is a reality for millions of students and Homeschooling isn’t even an option. Just having the resources, not just financially, to devote that much attention to your children in itself contributes to their success. With that said the public education system is very much broken. As documented in “Waiting for Superman,” I believe awareness around this issues has been increasing but there is also a strong resistance.

I believe the false pressures surround the annual testing directly tied to funding has created a toxic environment. In fact, there was an OpEd in the NYTimes the other week from a self-proclaimed “Bad Teacher” who readily admits that despite trying his best, a combination of decreasing budgets and an education policy that doesn’t support growth makes his job very difficult.

Teachers are forced to worry more about policy and points and not about students. I think the public education system is a very broken and system and won’t be fixed with an infographic or blog post. I think we’ll need a paradigm shift in mindset and policy to fix the education system as a whole.

9. Where can interested readers get more information?

Here are some resource links we’ve included:


10. What have I neglected to ask?

I think you’ve done a good job with the questions. I’ll follow up if I think of anything.



– Greg


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