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North Carolina

August 13, 2003

North Carolina Homeschool Students Top 50,000 Statewide

The number of North Carolina students enrolled in homeschools topped 50,000 this year, according to North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE), the statewide home school association.

Based on data released this week by the state's Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE), the Raleigh organization estimates at least 52,844 students received the majority of their academic instruction from parents last year. NCHE considers the state's estimate of 51,571 is less than the actual number, due to homeschool students outside the compulsory attendance ages of 7 to 16.

"To put this in perspective, Cumberland County has just over 52,000 students in their public school system," said Hal Young, president of NCHE. "In fact, there are only three counties with larger school systems -- Mecklenburg, Wake, and Guilford."

While the total number of school-aged children in the state grows just over 2% annually, homeschooling has grown an average of 19% for the past nine years.

"As the number of families involved with home education has grown, it has become more accessible, less intimidating to many," said Young, a homeschooling father himself. "Many families are reaching out for the promise of a creative alternative to the traditional classroom. Homeschooling represents a flexible, family-centered approach to children's education and development. That's what our organization is here to support and protect."

In North Carolina, about 3.6% of students are homeschooled. Nationwide, researchers estimate around 2 million American children are being taught at home. Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, and has been recognized by North Carolina statute since 1987.

North Carolinians for Home Education was founded in 1984 to promote homeschooling as an excellent alternative, to provide encouragement and support for homeschooling families, and to protect families' right to choose home education in North Carolina. NCHE is continuing to analyze recently-released data; for more information about specific counties, contact NCHE at 919-790-1100 or visit their web site at http://nche.com