Since the 1980s when the homeschooling boom first occurred in the U.S., the movement was mostly championed by evangelical Christians. Times have changed. Since that time, the movement has diversified dramatically. Today, many home school families no longer challenge the public school system but cooperate with school districts to better serve their homeschoolers and expand the availability of more diverse educational opportunities.
This newfound diversity in the homeschooling world completely upsets “the apple cart” of the definition of homeschooling and the impact homeschooling has on the public school system.
Today, especially considering enrollment surges resulting from pandemic lockdowns, homeschooling is much more a part of the mainstream social structure than ever before. Homeschooling is now legal in all 50 states (SEE: State Laws at Home – Home School Facts) and many states are working to include homeschoolers in public school schedules on a part time basis.
To date, at least 28 states welcome homeschool students’ participation in public school interscholastic sports, and more states are considering extending access to school sports to homeschoolers under the auspices of “Tim Tebow Laws.” (SEE: Tim Tebow Laws and Homeschool Athletes (homeschoolfacts.com).
The differences between the overall U.S. population and the homeschool population are not significant these days. In fact, homeschooling has become so diverse that it’s become difficult to define anything about who homeschoolers are. Religious beliefs, politics, and finances of homeschool families are as different as they are similar.
In fact, the growth of homeschooling in the past decade has been amazing. The recent pandemic-mandated “school-at-home” experience was an eye-opener for public schools. Many researchers and education modelers consider the federal “at-home” experience to have been a failure. Whether a success or failure, the net result is that the number of homeschooled students increased dramatically during lockdowns and continues to increase.
In fact, some homeschooling statistics confirm that “students’ educated at home tend to achieve better exam results than students who go to regular school. And their academic achievement at college and university level demonstrates that home schooled students can achieve at the same, or higher, levels than public school graduates.”
The website “What to Become,” (22 Impactful Homeschooling Statistics All Parents Should Know (whattobecome.com) points out that “Homeschooling is approved in many countries worldwide. While it’s banned in countries such as Germany, Croatia, and Greece, it’s widespread in the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In all of these international regions, the reasons for home schooling children remain the same: a lack of satisfaction with local education systems and a desire to address their children’s individual educational needs.”
An August 20, 2022, a What to Become online article listed eight homeschool statistics that every homeschool parent should know:
- Homeschoolers make up about 6-7% of the school-age population.
- 83% of children educated at home are white.
- Homeschoolers have 15% to 30% higher scores on achievement tests.
- There are 3.7 million homeschoolers in the USA. (As of August 2022.)
- The percentage of parents homeschooling their children in 2022 was 8%.
- 80% of parents choose to educate their children at home based on safety issues.
- Homeschooled students’ graduation rate is 66.7%. (As of 2022.)
It’s also important to note that high school graduation rates have been steadily increasing, both in home schools and in public schools. As of 2021, the national graduation rate was 85.3%, which is an all-time high in the U.S. In fact, in 2021 when the most recent statistics were compiled, 52% of all states recorded an increase in graduation rates. Because high school graduation rates are generally a good indication of future quality of life in America, graduation from high school tends to determine how much money American adults earn and how much future career success they might achieve.
HOMESCHOOLING AND PUBLIC EDUCATION
Laurel Davidson of Parenting Mode wrote on July 12, 2023, that “Homeschooling statistics suggest that parent-led home-based education can be superior to public education if done right.” Among other items, she noted that:
- According to National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) homeschool statistics, during the 2020-2021 school year (SY), there were 3.7 million homeschool students in the U.S.
- According to National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), states with the highest number of homeschoolers are North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. (NOTE: to see enrollment statistics visit Homeschooling Statistics in 2023 (Latest U.S. Data) | Parenting Mode).
- According to National Center for Education Statistics (IES) homeschooling facts, the top reason for homeschooling is a concern about school environment, such as safety, drugs, and negative peer pressure.
- According to National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) homeschool studies, 34% of homeschooling households have an annual income over $100,000.
- According to National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), homeschooling saves about $56 billion in taxpayer dollars annually.
Alvin Parker, writing on September 12, 2023, for the website Prosperity, said that “Many people might question the effectiveness of homeschooling. However, homeschooling statistics support exceptional outcomes.” (For 93 Homeschooling Statistics for 2023, goto 96 Homeschooling Statistics for 2023 (Success Rates & Facts) (prosperityforamerica.org).) Parker also noted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on current homeschool enrollments and withdrawals from public schools:
- The COVID-19 pandemic saw over 300 million students all over the world become homeschooled.
- As per data from Census homeschooling numbers, home-schooling households increased by 2x during the pandemic.
- Students who are homeschooled perform significantly better than their peers who attend formal institutions of education.
- According to peer-reviewed studies, 69% of homeschooled students succeed in college and in life after high school.
- Students who are homeschooled typically score above average on the ACT and SAT.
- Regardless of the parent’s financial and educational status, homeschooled students consistently score 15% to 30% higher on benchmark achievement tests than students enrolled in public schools.
- Homeschooled students typically perform 72 SAT points better than the national mean.
Researchers looking at the future of homeschooling in America agree on several basic concepts:
- Many families will leave public school districts because of teacher shortages which they perceive as lowering the overall quality of education.
- Homeschoolers who elect to go back to the public classroom will be carrying homeschooling ideas and methods back to teachers and educators.
- As a result of the historic “school-at-home” experiment public schools had to undergo, digital education systems will be improved on a game-changing level.
Overall, American homeschooling is here to stay. Increased diversification, improved use of digital systems, coordination between home schools and public education systems, and an improved willingness to collaborate with traditional education systems will improve the overall effectiveness of home schooling and further the value of this historic method of educating American children.