September 3, 2013
U.S. Department of Education: Homeschooling Continues to Grow!
J. Michael Smith, Esq.
J. Michael Smith is president of HSLDA. He has been an advocate for homeschooling for more than 30 years. Read more >>
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released an eagerly awaited report on the number of homeschool students in the U.S. The report showed that the number of homeschool students has grown by almost 300,000 since the last report in 2007.
This report was first conducted in 1999, when the NCES found that approximately 850,000 students were homeschooled. In 2003, NCES found that this number had grown to 1.1 million. And in 2007, NCES found that 1.5 million students were homeschooled.
The new report concludes that approximately 1,770,000 students are homeschooled in the United States—3.4% of the school-age population. NCES said that among children who were homeschooled, 68 percent are white, 15 percent are Hispanic, 8 percent are black, and 4 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander.
Still Choosing to Homeschool
This is an exciting report. It shows that parents continue to choose to homeschool their children, even during a time of economic difficulty. It is especially noteworthy that homeschooling continues to grow, even though another recent NCES report showed that the number of students in private schools continues to fall.
It is important to point out that NCES’ previous reports used a random digit dial (RDD) sample of landline telephones. Due to declining response rates for telephone surveys, NCES switched to a mail survey for this latest report. NCES notes in the report that “[d]ue to this mode change, readers should use caution when comparing estimates to prior [National Household Education Surveys] administrations.”
Other interesting facts in the report: When asked why they chose to homeschool, 91 percent of parents said it was because of a concern about the environment of other schools; 77 percent of parents said it was because of a desire to provide moral instruction; 74 percent of parents said they homeschool because of their dissatisfaction with academic instruction in other schools. When asked to select the single most important reason for homeschooling, 25 percent of parents said it was because of their concern about the environment of other schools.
The most significant developments since the last report in 2007 (and again, we must approach this cautiously since the report methodology has changed) is that in five years, homeschooling has grown 17% when looking at the total number of students who are homeschooled, and 0.5% of the total number of K-12 students.
Two key differences from the 2007 report are that more parents are concerned about the environment of other schools, and fewer parents stated that their number one reason for homeschooling was because of their desire for religious or moral instruction.
You can read the 2007 NCES report on homeschooling online.
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If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support for our work enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>