Once upon a time, all children were homeschooled. But around 150 years ago states started making public school mandatory and homeschooling eventually became illegal. It wasn’t until the 90’s that all states made it legal again. Today, with more than 2 million homeschoolers making up 4% of the school-aged population, it’s the fastest growing form of education in the country.
- 1840: 55% of children attended primary school while the rest were educated in the home or by tutors.
- 1852: The “Common School” model became popular and Massachusetts became the first state to pass compulsory attendance law. Once compulsory attendance laws became effective, America eventually relied entirely on public and private schools for educating children. Homeschooling then became something only practiced by extremely rural families, and within Amish communities.
- 1870: All states had free primary schools.
- 1900: 34 states had compulsory attendance laws.
- 1910: 72% of children attended primary school.
- 1960: Educational reformers started questioning public schooling’s methods and results.
- 1977: “Growing Without Schooling” magazine was published, marking a shift from trying to reform public education to abandoning it.
- 1980: Homeschooling was illegal in 30 states.
- 1983: Changes in tax law forced many Christian Schools to close which led to soaring homeschooling rates.
- 1993: Homeschooling become legal in all 50 states and saw annual growth rates of 15-20%.
32 states and Washington D.C. offer Virtual Public Schools – free education over the internet to homeschooling families: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia (DC), Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
4 States offer tax credits for homeschooling families: Iowa, Arizona, Minnesota, Illinois.
10 States don’t require notification of homeschooling: Alaska, Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut.
14 States require notification of homeschooling: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Delaware.
20 States and D.C. require notification of homeschooling, test scores and/or professional evaluation of students: Washington, Oregon, Colorado, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, New Hampshire, Maine, D.C., Hawaii.
6 States require notification of homeschooling, test scores and/or professional evaluation of students; plus other requirements like curriculum approval, parent qualification, home visits by state officials: North Dakota, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rode Island.
No Federal help is available to homeschooling families yet. The IRS says that homeschooling costs “are nondeductible personal, living, or family expenses.”
Home schooling is the fastest growing form of education in the country.
- 1999: 850,000 homeschoolers (1.7% of the school-aged population)
- 2003: 1.1 million homeschoolers (2.2% of the school-aged population)
- 2007: 1.5 million homeschoolers (2.9% of the school-aged population)
- 2010: 2.04 million homeschoolers (4% of the school-aged population)
- From 2007- 2009 home-schoolers increased ate a rate of 7%/year
- From 2007- 2009 public-schoolers increased at a rate of 1%/year
Education Level of Homeschooling Parents (Fathers/Mothers)
- No High School Degree: 1.4% / 0.5%
- High School Degree: 8.4% / 7.5%
- Some College: 15.4% / 18.7%
- Associate’s Degree: 8.6% / 10.8%
- Bachelor’s Degree: 37.6% / 48.4%
- Master’s Degree: 20% / 11.6%
- Doctorate Degree: 8.7% / 2.5%
Number of children in homeschooled families:
- 1 child: 6.6%
- 2 children: 25.3%
- 3 children: 26%
- 4-6 children: 35.9%
- 7+ children: 6.3%
Most important reasons parents say they homeschool their kids (students, ages 5-17, 2007):
- 36 %: To provide religious or moral instruction
- 21 % : Concern about the environment of other schools: safety, drugs, and negative peer pressure
- 17 %: Dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools
- 14 %: Unique Family Situation such as time, finances, travel, and distances
- 7 %: Nontraditional approach to child’s education
- 4 %: Child has other special needs
- 2%: Child has a physical or mental health problem
Standardized achievement tests: On average, homeschoolers rank in at the 87th percentile. (Note: The 87th percentile is not the test score. It is the percent of students that scored lower… so, only 13% of students scored higher.)
- Boys: 87th
- Girls: 88th
- Reading: 89th
- Language: 84th
- Math: 84th
- Science: 86th
- Social Studies: 84th
- Core: 88th
- Parents income <$35,000: 85th
- Parents income $35,000-$70,000: 86th
- Parents income >$70,000: 89th
- Parents spend <$600/child/year: 86th
- Parents spend >$600/child/year: 89th
- Neither parent has a college degree: 83rd
- Either parent has a college degree: 86th
- Both parents have college degrees: 90th
- Neither parent has a teaching certificate: 87th
- Either Parent has a teaching certificate: 88th
Grade Placement compared to public schools:
- Behind: 5.4%
- On track: 69.8%
- Ahead: 24.5%
WHEN THEY GROW UP
Homeschooled Adults’ Perception of Homeschooling
“I’m glad that I was homeschooled”
- Strongly Agree: 75.8%
- Agree: 19.4%
- Neither: 2.8%
- Disagree: 1.4%
- Strongly Disagree: 0.6%
“Homeschool gave me an advantage as an adult”
- Strongly Agree: 66.0%
- Agree: 26.4%
- Neither: 5.7%
- Disagree: 1.5%
- Strongly Disagree: 0.4%
“Homeschool limited my educational opportunities”
- Strongly Agree: 1.0%
- Agree: 4.2%
- Neither: 6.6%
- Disagree: 29.2%
- Strongly Disagree: 58.9%
“Homeschool limited my career choices”
- Strongly Agree: 0.9%
- Agree: 1.2%
- Neither: 3.9%
- Disagree: 18.8%
- Strongly Disagree: 75.3%
“I would homeschool my own children”
- Strongly Agree: 54.8%
- Agree: 27.3%
- Neither: 13.5%
- Disagree: 2.8%
- Strongly Disagree: 1.6%
Homeschooled / General Population
- Participate in an ongoing community service activity (71% / 37%)
- Consider politics and government too complicated to understand (4.2% / 35%)
- Read a book in the past six months? (98.5% / 69%)
- Continue on to college (74% / 49%)
“Taken all together, how would you say things are these days–would you say that you are …”
- Very happy (58.9% / 27.6)
- Pretty happy (39.1% / 63%)
- Not too happy (2% / 9.4)
Average homeschool family spends $500/child/year.
The average public school spends $9,963 per child per year, not including capital expenditures or research and development.