In a modern world of public education, more and more parents are deciding to homeschool their children. This shift away from traditional education has accelerated for a variety of reasons, including concerns about the spread of illnesses, pandemics, lack of control over the curriculum, and physical safety in the school environment. Some parents are electing to home educate their children and manage the entire educational experience themselves, while others turn to virtual instruction, charter schools, and other forms of alternative instruction to get the outcome they desire for their children.
In this article, we take a close look at all the different pathways to home-based schooling and look at what percentage of families have chosen to homeschool their children in recent years.
Background of Homeschooling
Homeschooling first attracted public attention in the 1970s, when a group of parents in California became concerned about the quality of public education and decided to take matters into their own hands. They formed the first homeschooling group in the United States, and the idea caught on quickly.
Since then, homeschooling has been steadily increasing, both as a direct reaction to public school shortcomings and as an alternative to traditional education. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, although some states have more stringent laws and regulations related to home education than others. As the demand for home-based education has grown over the years, so have the options for families looking to receive or provide home instruction.
Types of Homeschooling
There are a variety of homeschooling models that families can choose from. The most common type of homeschooling is the parent-directed model, where parents create their own curriculum and manage the entire educational experience for their children.
These families have complete control over their child’s education and are responsible for all areas, from curriculum selection to record-keeping. Some of these families use a variety of resources, from textbooks and other purchased materials to individualized learning programs offered through online providers and traditional brick-and-mortar tutoring centers. Another popular type of homeschooling is the virtual school model, in which the student receives instruction virtually, usually through a computer.
In this model, the parents select an online provider and pay an enrollment fee to access the program. The provider then provides the curriculum, student assessments, and other teaching support.
This type of homeschooling is becoming increasingly popular, as it gives families the flexibility to design their own learning schedule and goals. Finally, there are a variety of hybrid models that combine elements of both the parent-directed and virtual school models. In these models, parents select a charter school, online program, or other alternative provider and are assigned an instructor.
The parent watches as the instructor teaches while they provide additional instruction and guidance.
Growth of Homeschooling
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, homeschooling has been steadily growing in popularity. In 1999, the organization’s first study of homeschooling estimated that 7 million students were being homeschooled.
By 2012, the number had grown to 6 million.
In 2019, this number was estimated to be up to 8 million students, with
7 million of those students receiving homeschool instruction from a parent. This translates to approximately 4% of the school-aged population in the United States being homeschooled.
Motivation for Homeschooling
Parents choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons, including concerns about the quality of public school education, religious beliefs, control over their child’s learning environment, and physical safety. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the most commonly cited reasons for homeschooling in the United States are a dissatisfaction with academic instruction available at the public school, an interest in providing a non-traditional approach to education, and a concern about the environment of the public school.
Demographic of Homeschoolers
When it comes to the demographic of homeschoolers, statistics show that a majority of families engage in homeschooling out of religious or moral beliefs. According to the 2019 Homeschooling in the United States survey, the most common religious affiliation of homeschoolers is Catholic (30%) followed by evangelical (1
3%), born-again Christian (17%), mainline Christian (13%), and Baptist (
5%). White, middle-class families are the most likely to homeschool, but this is changing as attitudes towards homeschooling have become more positive and more people from a variety of backgrounds have begun to explore this option for their children.
Social Implication of Homeschooling
One of the main concerns associated with homeschooling is the lack of socialization and interaction with peers of their age. Parents who homeschool their children are often accused of isolating their children, preventing them from learning the skills they need to function in society. This is a valid concern and one that parents need to take into consideration when making the decision to homeschool or not.
However, homeschoolers are increasingly finding ways to socialize with peers through homeschooling organizations, specialized classes, sports teams, and other events that provide the opportunity for positive peer interaction without sacrificing the individual instruction and control offered by homeschooling.
Education Institute Perspective on Homeschooling
Many education institutes believe that homeschooling is an effective way to provide instruction to students, particularly those from minority populations or those in rural areas. Organizations such as the National Home Education Research Institute, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development have all conducted studies that demonstrate the higher rate of academic accomplishment among homeschooled students.
The prospects for successful homeschooling all come down to the quality of the instruction and the parents’ dedication in providing it.
Government Perspective on Homeschooling
The U. S.
government’s attitude towards homeschooling has become much more positive over the years. It is important to note, however, that homeschooling is still a relatively new phenomenon, so laws and regulations are likely to change over time. The government does have regulations in place to ensure that homeschoolers receive an educational experience that meets or exceeds the quality of their peers in traditional schools.
For example, most states require homeschoolers to take standardized tests or submit their work to an outside evaluator in order to demonstrate proficiency in a particular subject or grade level.
Pros and Cons of Homeschooling
As with any educational decision, there are a variety of pros and cons that parents need to consider when deciding whether or not to homeschool their children. Advantages to homeschooling include more control over the curriculum, instruction, and environment, a more relaxed pace of learning, and the opportunity to focus on individual interests.
Disadvantages of homeschooling include the increased financial burden associated with purchasing materials, the lack of socialization opportunities, and the fact that parents need to take on the additional responsibility of being an educator.
While homeschooling isn’t the right choice for every family, it is an increasingly popular option for many families in today’s world. Parents considering this option must weigh the pros and cons and make the decision that is best for their family. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately
4% of families have chosen to homeschool their children in recent years. However, with the many advantages offered by homeschooling, this number is expected to continue to rise.