Have you heard? Homeschooling is catching on. It's growing at such a rate Dr. Brian D. Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) estimates an annual increase of two to eight percent over the next few years.This robust growth helps prove homeschooling is not a fad embraced only by conservative Christians and left-wing unschoolers. In reality, homeschooling works for people in all socioeconomic groups who support freedom of educational choice. The question then becomes not how to homeschool, but why. As a homeschooler, embrace the movement — it's booming.
Homeschooling by the Numbers
Homeschooled students represent approximately 3.4 percent of the school aged population bringing the current total to about 2.3 million. As this population ages, adults who cherished their own homeschool programs will provide the same experience for their children. These projections of second generation homeschooled students assume if the birthrate among this demographic remains 3.5 and the growth rate six percent, the total homeschooled population will explode to 10 million by 2030!
Educational Philosophy of Homeschooling
A study by the Pioneer Institute reports one common value among diverse homeschooling groups: the belief in a right to educational choice. According to this report, "Regardless of a family's rationale for homeschooling, the universal tenet of homeschoolers is the importance of parental choice and the conviction that parents are best equipped to make the educational decisions that affect their children."
This fundamental belief in choice unites diverse population groups and fuels the homeschooling boom.
Minority Growth in the Homeschool Community
Although the majority of homeschooled students are white, the number of minority students is growing. In particular, the rate of Hispanic participation is expanding at a rapid pace. The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) reports only nine percent of Hispanic students were homeschooled in 1999. In 2016, that number jumped to 26 percent. The percentage of black students has doubled from four to eight percent since 2007. And Asian and Pacific Island student participation holds steady at around seven percent.
Homeschool Student Success Rates
Student success is another influence on the growing popularity of homeschool. Studies show homeschooled students outperform public school students in several categories. They tend to score higher on standardized tests, graduate high school at higher rates and stay in college for longer. Experts believe a custom homeschool curriculum and one-on-one guidance from parent-educators has a lot to do with it. See how they perform in college.
Successful homeschools combine the basics with the opportunity to personalize. If your student develops an interest in art history, carve out time to study this topic in depth and in-person. The public school march to cover required units sounds stifling in comparison.
Homeschool also has the flexibility to address the needs of students with developmental, behavioral and physical delays, providing a greater outlook for success.
Best Homeschool Curriculum & Material
Homeschool curriculum has grown in scope and availability over the years, allowing you to choose high-quality and affordable materials for your students. The public library is an invaluable (free) resource for parents, offering books on every subject from anatomy to art. Pay attention to special events hosted at the library where both you and your students can interact with other homeschool families.
Browse curriculum lists for vetted materials and top-rated content for your classroom, including christian homeschool curriculum. Select from both free homeschool curriculum and paid material in both print and online formats. Newspapers are another great source. Most national and international newspapers are online, and many offer discounted subscriptions for students. For some parents, a structured online homeschool program is the best option for their homeschool class with reporting tools, tutoring sessions and even built-in lesson plans.
The Problem With Public School
Problems in the public school system continue to concern parents, further boosting homeschool enrollment. This option appeals to families living in low-budget school districts, because they can control where the money goes and ensure student health, safety and educational needs are met. A comfortable and relaxed homeschool environment encourages learning in a way many public schools cannot.
Bullying is another relevant concern. Studies have found children who are bullied experience depression, anxiety, decline in physical health and lower school performance. They are more likely to be absent or to drop out altogether. While socialization is necessary for healthy homeschool student development, homeschool parents can supplement this through athletic programs, co-ops and other community organizations like scouts or 4-H.
The homeschool movement continues to grow. While religion contributes to this choice, new studies show homeschooling is not limited to a secular versus nonsecular argument. A broad range of families are attracted to homeschooling, because it produces well-adjusted, well-educated and socially engaging individuals.