Information about Numbers and Trends in Homeschooling
Prior to the spring of 2020, you may never have considered homeschooling, or you may have been a homeschooling family focused on what you needed to do to be successful without really concerning yourself with the larger homeschool community. However, one of the effects of the school-at-home measures during the Coronavirus pandemic was a sudden interest in homeschooling, not just in the US but all over the world. Now homeschooling is more a part of everyday conversations and a viable option for many parents who never would have considered the idea prior to the pandemic. Understanding the popularity of homeschooling may help you make decisions as you consider your child’s potential for success now and in the future. Homeschool numbers may affect how you feel about the general social acceptance or stigma surrounding homeschooling, available support networks and resources, and even your child’s outlook for college admissions.
Are you curious about how many families are homeschooling their children in the US? Do you wonder which state has the most homeschoolers? Is homeschooling becoming more popular? Let’s explore these and other questions….
|How many Children are Homeschooled
in the US?
|Why are Homeschooling
|Is Homeschooling Growing?|
|Which State Has
the Most Homeschoolers?
How many Children are Homeschooled in the US?
According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 1.69 million children homeschooled in the US in 2016. This number was approximately doubled from just seven years prior. What are the numbers now? Check the current Digest of Education Statistics! In addition to the overall numbers, you will find breakdowns by sex, race/ethnicity, grade equivalent, number of children and parents in the household, parent participation in the labor force and highest education level, household income, and locale (i.e., city, suburban, town, or rural). Once you are on the site, be sure to check for links to the most recent data. Homeschooler numbers change daily but remember that the data follows only when additional reporting occurs.
Why are Homeschooling Estimates Inaccurate?
Accurate homeschooling statistics can be difficult to get. Why? First, not every state’s homeschool law requires that homeschoolers register. Some make registration with the local school district optional if a family would like access to public school services or activities. In addition, many families homeschool children who are younger or older than the compulsory age range in their states, so these families are not included on any demographic reports. Even the numbers of school-aged children may not be current. Every ten years, the US census updates the numbers of school-aged children, but birth and death rates vary due to many factors, so assuming trends from the most recent census data may be misleading.
Another issue is what exactly constitutes homeschooling. Are children who are in home education programs due to injury or illness (either temporarily or long-term) counted as homeschoolers? Are children who attend charter schools with homeschool components included in those numbers? What about children who are in hybrid programs with public/private schools or who are attending fully online programs? Obviously, if there is no universal agreement on what constitutes homeschooling, the reported numbers may remain inaccurate.
Is Homeschooling Growing?
Yes! If there is one certainty, it is that homeschooling is becoming more popular. Numbers were increasing prior to the pandemic, and, according to the National Home Education Research Institute and other sources, the pandemic boosted both awareness and new interest in homeschooling because of both the school-at-home experiences and fears for safety upon returning to in-person schooling. There are now more and more homeschool curriculums, free homeschool resources, and homeschool support groups available to make the transition to homeschooling easier for families. Additionally, homeschool websites are making sure to provide lots of information on how to start homeschooling for newcomers ready to begin the homeschooling adventure!
Which State Has the Most Homeschoolers?
As difficult as it is to find the percentage of homeschoolers in the US, it is equally as difficult to find the percentage of homeschoolers by state. You may want to try your state’s education department website, but you may find the same issues related to homeschooling data in your state as in the national statistics. That being said, you can consider the likelihood of a state having more or fewer homeschoolers based on a number of factors:
- Perception of the quality of the state’s public and private schools
- How easy it is to comply with the state’s homeschool laws
- Network of support groups and outreach available in the state
- Ratios of children to adults in the state (i.e., based on birth and death rates)
- Influence of economic trends on homeschooling within the state
- Definition of what constitutes homeschooling within that state
Some states, like Alaska, are considered “homeschool friendly” because they have no or minimal regulations for homeschoolers. Other states, like New York, are considered strict, and compliance requires a thorough understanding of the state’s homeschool laws. Regardless of where you live, homeschooling IS legal in your state, and families are doing it!
Let’s hear your thoughts about homeschool numbers. Add your ideas in the comments below….