Homeschooling Facts


How many homeschoolers are there?

In 1999 the U.S. Department of Education, via the National Household Education Survey Program, estimated there were 850,000 homeschooled students in the United States. In 2003 it estimated that the number had grown to 1,096,000.

Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Salem, Oregon, puts the numbers higher. He estimates that during the 2002?03 school year there were 1.7 million to 2.1 million homeschooled students in the U.S.

In 1999 the Department of Education estimated that homeschooled students represented 1.7 percent of the country's 5-to-17-year-olds; in 2003 it estimated that this number had grown to 2.2 percent. Based on Ray's high-end estimate, homeschooled children represent 4.2 percent of the school-age population.

What are the most popular reasons for homeschooling?

As part of the 2003 National Household Education Survey, respondents who homeschooled their children were asked why they chose to do so. Their three most popular responses were: 1) concern about the environment of other schools, 2) a desire for religious or moral instruction, and 3) dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools.

In 2004 Brian Ray published Home Educated and Now Adults, a book based on his survey of 7,000 adults who had been homeschooled as children. Here are the top five reasons Ray's respondents said they or their parents engaged in homeschooling: 1) can give child a better education at home; 2) religious reasons; 3) teach child particular values, beliefs, and worldview; 4) develop character/morality; 5) object to what school teaches.

How does the general public view homeschoolers?

More favorably than it used to. The Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll is an annual survey of the public's attitude toward public schools. In 1985, when it first asked respondents if they felt the homeschooling movement was "a good thing or a bad thing for the nation," only 16 percent of the respondents said it was "a good thing," while 73 percent said it was "a bad thing." In 2001, the most recent year the poll included questions about homeschooling, 41 percent said it was "a good thing" and 54 percent said it was "a bad thing."

What does the law say about home-schooling?

Since 1993 homeschooling has been legal in every state, albeit with differing degrees of oversight. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association:

* 10 states have no regulation. Parents aren't required to notify the state that they're homeschooling their children.

* 14 states have low regulation. Parents are required only to notify the state that they're homeschooling their children.

* 15 states have moderate regulation. Parents are required to notify the state that they're homeschooling their children, and they must also send test scores and/or professional evaluations of their child's academic progress.

* 11 states have high regulation. Parents are required to notify the state that they're homeschooling their children; they must send test scores and/or professional evaluation of their child's academic progress; and they must fulfill other requirements as well, such as using only state-approved curricula and allowing home visits by state officials.