Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Rise Of The Homeschoolers

A recent report posted by the National Center for Education Statistics confirms what many of us already knew: More children are being homeschooled than ever before:
The results of the 2003 NHES survey reveal that the weighted estimate of the number of students being homeschooled in the United States in the spring of 2003 was 1,096,000, a figure which represents a 29 percent increase from the estimated 850,000 students who were being homeschooled in the spring of 1999 (table 1). In addition, the estimated homeschooling rate—the percentage of the student population being homeschooled—rose from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 2.2 percent in 2003. In this latest survey, parents were asked whether any of a set of reasons for homeschooling applied to them. Parents were then asked which one of the applicable reasons they considered to be their most important reason for homeschooling—31 percent of homeschooled children had parents who cited concern about the environment of other schools, such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure, as the most important reason for homeschooling and 30 percent had parents who said the most important reason was to provide religious or moral instruction (table 4). While these were the two most common responses, another 16 percent of homeschooled students had parents who said dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools was their most important reason for homeschooling.

Many of the 2003 survey findings concerning homeschooling rates by student and family characteristics paralleled those found in 1999. In 2003, as in 1999, the homeschooling rate for White students (2.7 percent) was higher than for Black students (1.3 percent) or Hispanic students (0.7 percent) (table 2). The homeschooling rate was also higher for students in families with three or more children in the household than for students in families with fewer children, higher for students in two-parent households than for students in one-parent households, and higher for students in two-parent households with only one parent participating in the labor force than for students with other parent labor force participation patterns. A multivariate analysis was conducted to determine whether these relationships held when controlling for all other demographic factors investigated in this report. In the multivariate analysis, most of the relationships held, but differences were not detectable between White and Black students and between students in two-parent households and students in one-parent households.

Between 1999 and 2003, homeschooling rates increased for a number of groups. Homeschooling rates increased from 0.9 to 1.7 percent among students with parents who have a high school diploma or less, from 2.0 to 2.7 percent among White students, from 1.6 to 2.4 percent among students in grades 6–8; and from 0.7 to 1.4 percent among students in single-parent households where the parent was in the labor force.
My guess is that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

The increase in homeschooling is reflected in the EduSphere too, with literally hundreds of blogs coming on-line that focus on issues relevant to those who choose to teach children in the home.
See our latest education-related posts right here.