Homeschooling is an educational option that allows parents to teach their children at home rather than sending them to school. Homeschooling parents make use of a a wide range of resources and opportunities, and children's homeschooling experiences vary.
How many students are homeschooled? While exact numbers do not exist, the data we have indicate that around two million students are being homeschooled today. While that number appears to still be rising, it seems to be doing so more slowly than in the past.
Parents choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons: to protect their children's religious development; to foster hands-on self-guided learning; to provide a better education than other schools; to meet a child's special needs; or to protect a child from bullying.
Neither states nor individual school districts collect data on homeschool families’ race, educational background, or income, and studies conducted with volunteer samples cannot be assumed to be representative of the entire population. So what do we know?
Scholars have long divided homeschoolers into groups based on their motivations or practices---closed communion and open communion; believers and inclusives; ideologues, pedagogues, and pragmatics; first choice and second choice homeschoolers.
The modern homeschool movement began in the 1970s when educator John Holt began urging parents to foster their children's learning at home. During the 1980s, evangelicals began homeschooling out of concern for their children's religious development.
While we know that students who are homeschooled can succeed academically, we know little about how well the average homeschooled student does academically or whether homeschooling can be credited for the success of those who are high achievers.
The socialization homeschooled students receive varies widely. Some have large social networks and active social calendars, but not all are involved in such a wide array of social activities and some do not receive the level of socialization they need.
While homeschool graduates who attend college tend to do well, there are indications that homeschooling depresses college attendance. Beyond what we know about college performance, we have little data on the lives of homeschool graduates.
Research that is honest about exploring the strengths and weaknesses of homeschooling has the potential to help improve homeschooled students’ experiences. In addition to conducting our own research, we conduct analyses of existing research.
Good research promotes good homeschooling. Research that is honest about exploring the strengths and weaknesses of homeschooling has the potential to help improve homeschooled students’ experiences. As an organization, research is part of our mission. While our original research so far has been preliminary, we have several studies in the works and maintain the Homeschooling’s Invisible Children database. In addition to conducting our own research, we also offer critical analyses of research on homeschooling conducted by others.
- Arkansas Data Contradicts HSLDA’s Claims
- 2016 Homeschool Athletics Survey
- Should We Be Concerned about Low Homeschool SAT-Taking?
- The Homeschool Math Gap: The Data
- The Alaska Data and Homeschool Academics
- Opacity in Data Reporting: A Look at Cardus (2011, 2012)
- Choosing the Data that Supports Your Agenda: A Look at Ray 2010
- Correcting the Record: A Look at Rudner 1999
- Homeschooling Outcomes or Sampling Problems? A Look at Ray 2003