Homeschooling Rate Doubles in 21st Century

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The U.S. Department of Education says the homeschooling rate in the country is double what it was in 1999, jumping from 1.7 percent to 3.4 percent.

A survey conducted by the education department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) finds an increase in the percentage of students of ages 5-17 who are homeschooled. In 1999, the estimated number of homeschoolers was 850,000. By 2012, the estimate was 1.8 million.

Data from the survey show that nine of ten homeschooling parents say concern about the environment in schools was an important reason for their decision to homeschool (91 percent). Other reasons considered important in the decision included “a desire to provide moral instruction,” at 77 percent; “dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools,” at 74 percent; and “a desire to provide religious instruction,” at 64 percent.

Homeschooling parents’ education level ranged from high school graduate (23 percent) to graduate degree (18 percent). Students whose parents had a high school diploma or higher education levels had homeschooling rates of 2.2 to 2.5, compared to those whose parents had less than high school education and had a homeschooling rate of 0.4 percent.

Parents who homeschooled their children in 2012 said they mostly used non-retail websites, homeschooling catalogs, their local libraries, and bookstores as sources of curriculum. The least cited resource for teaching at home was curricula provided by public or private schools.

Students in rural areas of the country were homeschooled at the highest rate – 3.6 percent – while the rate for those in suburban areas was 1.6 percent, and for those in cities 1.5 percent.

According to the report, white students were homeschooled at a rate of 3.3 percent, while black students had a rate of 0.7 percent and Hispanic and Asian students both had homeschooling rates of 0.6 percent.

Among middle-school level homeschooled students, 35 percent took online courses as part of their curriculum, while 34 percent of high school-level and 11 percent of elementary-level students did the same.


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