Written by Dr. Brian Ray
Is it still growing? If so, at what rate? This is what a lot of media reporters, proponents of homeschooling, and antagonists of parent-led home-based education want to know regarding the homeschooling population. Researchers with the federal government recently took another look at this question. .[i] The study also considered demographics of the homeschool students and why their parents homeschool them.
Amber, Stark, and Redford (2013) explain that their data for the National Household Education Surveys Program are “… nationally representative of students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12, including children enrolled in private schools, enrolled in public schools, and homeschooled. The total number of completed questionnaires was 17,563 [397 homeschooled and 17,166 enrolled, p. 23] children), representing a population of 53.4 million students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 in 2011-12” (i.e., January through August 2012) (p. 1).
“Homeschool calculations follow previous homeschool reports by including children ages 5 through 17, in a grade equivalent to at least kindergarten and not higher than grade 12, and excludes students who were enrolled in public or private school more than 25 hours per week, and students who were homeschooled only because of temporary illness” (p. 21).
They concluded that 3.4% – or 1,770,000 – of U.S. K-12 students were homeschooled circa spring of 2012. The 95% confidence interval would be about 1.54 million to 2.00 million (pp. 17, 46).
The reasons parents gave for homeschooling these children, in decreasing order of frequency chosen, were the following (and parents could choose more than one reason): (more…)