Let’s look at homeschool statistics over the past couple of decades to see where this is trending. By following the statistics for homeschooling, we can see the benefits and problems of homeschooling our children.
Over the past 20 years, there has been a drastic increase in the number of families who are choosing to homeschool their children. This is according to the Fraser Institutes report, “Home Schooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream.”
Homeschooling Growth Trends Over The Past 20 Years – Homeschooling Statistics
According to the U.S. Department of Education in 1985, only 50,000 children were being homeschooled but by 1999 this number grew to 850,000 students. Today there are well over a million children who are being homeschooled.
The implications of such a steady increase in the number of children who are being homeschooled aren’t yet evident. It also isn’t of consequence to the general public. However, there are some notable outcomes, which relate directly to this increase. These outcomes include:
- The U.S. Census Bureau survey now has questions about homeschooling.
- There are now more books and magazines about homeschooling. For instance, Practical Home Schooling magazine sells more than 100,000 copies each month and The Big Book of Home Learning by Mary Pride has sold more than 250,000 copies. There are also more than 1,646 homeschool book titles in print today.
A Look At Unschooling Statistics
The 2000 U.S. Census statistics state that around 42% of the population is enrolled in school today. However, there is no clear designation as to what part of this population is unschooled. In fact, there are probably a lot of unschoolers who are actually afraid to stand up and be counted for fear of what those around them may say.
Unschooling is different because children learn by living their lives and learning what they need to know when they need to know it or when they choose to learn it. These children spend their days working, playing, growing and progressing. This is done by going about their day-to-day routines doing any and everything conceivable and never being questioned about “why” they are not in school.
While some people would like to attempt to define unschooling as a fringe or radical homeschooling method or say that it is a chaotic, “wild and crazy,” no-rules lifestyle, this actually isn’t true at all. In practice, unschooling is not all that unusual whenever you stop to consider that this is the way that most adults live today.
Some benefits of homeschooling in the eyes of the parents, according to the report, are:
- Opportunity to instill a particular set of morals and values in their child
- A higher academic achievement level and one-on-one instruction
- Stronger parent-child relationships
- High-quality interaction with peer groups and adults
- Escape from the negative effects of peer pressure
- A physically safer environment
Why Families Are Choosing To Homeschool
The Fraser Institute’s report also looks at reasons why homeschooling families have chosen to opt-out of public school education. It discovered that the vast majority of families do not base these choices only on their religious or political views either.
In fact, according to the report, the main reason why parents are choosing to homeschool their children is that they are not satisfied with the public school system. Some of the main parental objections to the public school system include:
- 33% object to the fact that religious instruction is not available
- 30% feel as though their public school has a poor learning environment
- 14% object to what the schools teach
- 11% feel as though their children are not being challenged at school
- 9% have morality issues with the public school system itself
- 1 in 4 students was the victim of a violent act at school (i.e. there were numerous school shootings reported)
Benefits To Homeschool Families
There are a lot of great benefits to homeschooling. Parents see the benefits to be as follows:
- They have the opportunity to instill their morals and values within their child
- There is a higher academic achievement level due to the one-on-one instruction
- Parent-child relationships are strengthened
- Children are able to have a lot of high-quality interaction with both peer groups and adults alike
- Children can easily escape from the negative effects of peer pressure
- The home is a physically safer environment for most children
The Fraser Institute’s Report believes that these statistics show that policymakers should consider whether or not homeschooling parents should receive a tax reduction. After all, they are paying property taxes that subsidize public schools. If they don’t receive such a tax reduction, then they should at least receive some other type of recognition of their contribution.