Xiaodong Sun

A dissertation by a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa graduate student on homeschooling is one of the most accessed dissertations and theses out 2.25 million full-text graduate works across all subject areas. That is based on total PDF downloads in the ProQuest® Dissertations and Theses Global database. UH Mānoa student Xiaodong Sun was recognized for authoring one of ProQuest’s 25 Most Accessed Dissertations and Theses in April 2018 for his dissertation, Can homeschooling be an alternative schooling choice.

“We are very proud of the scholarly works produced by our graduate students at UH Mānoa and are pleased to hear the substantive research by Dr. Xiaodong Sun is making an impact with researchers and institutions worldwide,” said Michael Bruno, vice chancellor for research.

Sun graduated with his PhD in economics in 2015 and studied characteristics of homeschooling families and their homeschooled youth and was flattered by the attention his worked received.

“It is unexpected but I am happy my work is generating so much interest,” said Sun. “This question about whether to homeschool or not is a deep social issue and is being asked by millions of families across the country each year.”

“I am really pleased to see Xiaodong’s dissertation get the attention that it deserves. His main findings help to inform the debate over the effectiveness of homeschooling,” added Sumner La Croix, dissertation chair and emeritus professor of economics.

Using various economics models, Sun found that parents’ educational level, religion, child health and number of children have significant roles in the choice of homeschooling. Among his findings:

  • The structure of homeschooling family is more fragile and both parents’ education attainments are lower than parents of children attending regular school;
  • The homeschooled population is more homogeneous than previously thought;
  • Generally, homeschoolers fall behind regular school students; and
  • Negative and statistically significant effects of homeschooling on both completion of college degree and labor income.

Sun noted, “The outcome suggests that a lot more work needs to be done before we begin to advocate homeschooling as an alternative schooling choice. My results also suggest that the research on this topic continues to suffer from insufficient data sets, as this paper offers a glimpse of a big picture that might one day be illuminated by more complete data.”

Read Sun’s full dissertation on ProQuest, the world’s largest collection of dissertations and theses, disseminating more than 200,000 new papers each year.