Homeschooling is the single fastest growing educational trend in the United States, and that trend is expanding worldwide. Dr. Brian Ray, one of the leading homeschool researchers, estimates that homeschooling has increased 15% per year over the past several years. While accurate statistics regarding the number of families homeschooling is difficult to come by, Dr. Ray’s estimates are supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Household Education Survey program.
In 1999, the Department of Ed estimated that there were about 850,000 homeschoolers nationwide, and had increased to about 1.1 million by 2003. Ray’s estimated that there were between 1.7 and 2.1 million homeschoolers at the end of that period, and that currently, there are between 2.5 and 4 million homeschoolers nationwide.
It is not hard to see why. Every day there are reports about how our traditional education systems are failing to keep pace with business and industry, and indeed, worldwide education systems, in preparing our nation’s youth to enter the workforce. Students in Japan, India and China spend more time in school, and far surpass our nation’s youth in Math and Science.
So how do homeschoolers do, comparatively?
Socially: There is a common myth that homeschooling produces social misfits. This myth partially arises from an assumption that traditional education systems provide “normal” socialization activities. Dr. Raymond Moore, in his book Better Late than Early writes that “The idea that children need to be around many other youngsters in order to be ‘socialized’ is perhaps the most dangerous and extravagant myth in education and child rearing today." There is ample research that indicates that because home schooled students are exposed to a wider variety of people and situations, they learn to get along with a variety of people, making them socially mature and better able to adjust to new situations.
In their Communities: Many non-homeschoolers believe that homeschooling can turn out better students, but because homeschool students are educated in greater isolation from the world, they are less politically and socially involved. This concern comes at a great time, for homeschoolers at least. The first generation of homeschoolers has now grown up and entered the workforce. Dr. Ray surveyed over 7,000 adults who had been home schooled and compared them against their more traditionally educated peers. His research found that:
Ninety-five percent of homeschoolers had an adequate comprehension of politics and government, compared to 65% of U.S. adults.
Seventy-one percent of homeschool graduates participate in ongoing community service activities, including politics, compared to 37% of adults in similar ages.
Eighty-eight percent of HS graduates are members of organizations (community groups, church, or professional organizations) compared to 50% of U.S. adults.
Significantly, 76% of homeschool graduates voted in a national or state election within the past 5 years, compared to 29 percent of similar U.S. adults.
In college: Many homeschool families are concerned whether their child will be able to do well on the SAT/ACT’s and get into college. Every year, colleges across the nation and around the world are opening their doors to homeschoolers. Many of the most prestigious colleges around the nation have accepted homeschoolers: Brown, Georgetown, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, the United States Military Academy at West Point, UC at Berkeley, University of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Yale, just to name a few. Homeschool Facts has compiled a list of over 1,400 colleges that accept homeschoolers, and that list grows longer every day.
Colleges and Universities all around the nation have realized the positive benefits of attracting homeschoolers. Research indicates that homeschoolers who have gone to college have no social skill deprivation, exhibit greater leadership skills, demonstrated stronger work ethic and had higher moral values, integral in their college success.
Homeschooling is obviously not for everyone. However, it is also an education option that should be considered for any family that does not feel their student’s needs are being met in traditional educational systems. At Homeschool Facts, we are not anti-public education, we are pro-education choice. We support the parent’s right to choose which educational environment will work best for their child. As you read our pages, and ponder your options, we hope that you will find encouragement here. We appreciate your feedback.
Homeschool Facts is the brainchild of a consortium of homeschool parents, licensed educators, counselors and researchers.