Broadman & Holman
How Many People Are Homeschooling Now?Home-based education is experiencing regeneration and growth at a significant pace in nations as widespread as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Numbers are hard to come by in some nations. An estimated 50,000 to 95,000 students were being homeschooled in Canada during the 2000–2001 conventional school year. In England and Wales, estimates vary widely, from about 13,000 to 50,000. Australian figures are in the range of 35,000 to 55,000. In Germany, a country that remains strongly committed to state education, one organization thinks there are between 500 and 600 homeschooled students.
The United States offers the most accurate information available. During the 2001–2002 school year, the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) estimates that between 1.6 and 2.0 million students were being homeschooled in the U.S., in every grade level from kindergarten through twelfth grade. This is a remarkable increase of 500 percent over the number homeschooled in 1990–1991. Indications are that the growth rate is between 7 percent and 15 percent per year.
What Kind of Families Homeschool?
Families from all social and racial backgrounds are taking on the education of their own children: parents with a grade 10 education, others with Ph.D.s; the wealthy and the less well-off; Christians, humanists, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, and New Age devotees; families with eight children and those with one; married couples and single parents; those in the inner city and those in the wilds of Alaska; sales clerks, public schoolteachers, doctors, and plumbers. Every year the variety broadens and expands.
Are Their Children Getting a Good Education?
Homeschooled students in the U.S. and Canada score 15 to 30 percentile points, on average, above their public school peers. This is true not only in the basics of reading, writing, and mathematics, but also in science, social studies, and study skills. Testing shows that they are also receiving a firm foundation in sound values, in the history of their own nation and the world, and in self-directed learning.
What about Socialization?
Homeschooled children and youth are involved in an array of activities with children, youth, and adults of all ages. Homeschoolers know that solid social and emotional development is based on interaction with a variety of people and ages in many different settings, not on the stultified peer group setting of typical institutional schools. Home- and family-based activities—including sports, 4-H clubs, Scouts, church activities, gardening, cooperative small-group classes in foreign language and science, and courses at local community colleges—all help to round out the basic home curriculum.
Homeschooled children and youth develop strong ties with their parents and siblings. Research shows that they are also socially, emotionally, and psychologically healthy and strong.
How Do We Start?
Continue reading and thinking about homeschooling and about your own philosophy of education. Second, find a local support group in your town or city, and learn from experienced homeschoolers who are in it. Join a statewide or provincewide homeschooling organization, and attend one of their conferences. Subscribe to a couple of homeschooling magazines. Consider the benefits of joining an organization that focuses on protecting the unalienable and legal rights of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children. And finally, read the last chapter of The Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling carefully for detailed information and tips on how to get started.