Homeschooling on the Rise

From Education News:

As the dissatisfaction with the U.S. education system among parents grows, so does the appeal of homeschooling. Since 1999, the number of children who are being homeschooled has increased by 75% in all states including Arizona, Texas, and California. Although currently only 4% of all school children nationwide are educated at home, the number of primary school kids whose parents choose to forgo traditional education is growing seven times faster than the number of kids enrolling in K-12 every year.

Recent studies laud homeschoolers’ academic success, noting their significantly higher ACT-Composite scores as high schoolers and higher grade point averages as college students. Yet surprisingly, the average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students.

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  • Steve Billingsley

    The first sentence says it all.

    “As the dissatisfaction with the U.S. education system among parents grows, so does the appeal of homeschooling”

    The first clause feeds the second.

  • Ann Phillips

    The $500-600 figure most likely covers only books and supplies. To make it comparable, you would have to add amounts for additional energy use, loss of income of the spouse staying home with the children, transportation expenses for the more frequent field trips, entry fees for the same. No doubt it would still be cheaper, but largely because you don’t need an entire building, grounds and administration in order to home-school.

  • Susan Gerard

    There has been a melee over at CaPC regarding this subject. I was surprised to find how strongly opinions were held about this. I do not think the expression of our beliefs should lead to snarkiness, unkindness, and false accusations (but if you want to see a lot of that, head on over).

    We all want spiritual, intellectual and academic success for our children. We want our children to know God, safety, security, and love. When it comes to education, it’s an agonizing decision for many of us.

    I homeschooled my children pretty much until mid-HS, when I could no longer offer them what they could get at school. I can list the up-sides and down-sides for both. It’s a difficult decision.

    I loved homeschooling. I would encourage people who are afraid they can’t do it to try it if they want to. It was a wonderful experience, and almost anyone can do it well. But not everyone can, physically, emotionally, or financially. It takes a tremendous amount of work and commitment. I would also caution people if they do not have an extensive support network (a well established homeschooling community/co-op) in place to think twice. Finally, it is a strain on the family which takes wisdom to work out. My husband had to take over a significant chunk of the domestic duties.

  • Andrew Dowling

    I don’t want to broad-swipe parents who homeschool their children, as there may be a wide variety of reasons and circumstances affecting that decision, but overall I don’t view this as a positive trend. It is important for us to work together in community with others, and a fundamental part of community is educating our children. I think much of the homeschooling movement carries the stigma of a very large segment (maybe majority but I do not know of data on this) being being comprised of fundamentalist, uber-conservative parents who teach unsound science and believe propaganda about public schools leading their children away from Christianity. I know many homeschooling parents aren’t in that bracket, but just stating a common perception.

  • Susan Gerard

    If you look up “homeschooling statistics 2012”, you will see lots of charts. Click on any of them (including those from the DOE) and you’ll see why homeschooling is growing in popularity, not only among Christians. One statistic you might be surprised to find is that in all age groups, where 50%ile is the avarage for public schooled kids, HoSc kids avarage 87%ile in Science. Christians carry stigmas of all kinds; we’re homophobes, sexually repressed, anti-feminist, whatever. Why should stigma prevent our children from getting what is a repeatedly-demonstrable better education that public schools can afford them? I have nothing against public schools. I appreciate what teachers are doing. I do not believe there is a conspiracy to turn kids against God. But the standardized tests (if you accept that they reflect the quality of an education) don’t lie.

    I think your first point, if extended, is more valid: we who highly value education should send our kids to public school and work to improve those schools for everyone. However, schools don’t respond as well to parents as they respond to school boards and those who issue paychecks. (I did volunteer in PS.)

  • Scott Gay

    There is a Piagetian ethos to public schools. The Piagetian method is purposely based on taking away authority from dominating influences Cooperating between children is the method for constructing a moral worldview about right and wrong. When Piaget was pressed on what was obviously the poor research methods he used, his response was that people misunderstood the objectives he was trying to accomplish in children.

  • We don’t even spend that much on homeschooling in elementary. Come middle school and high school though we spend a ton because of music, art and sports.

  • gabi532

    Very few can home school their kids successfully.

  • gabi532

    The sad part is 90% lack the qualifications to teach themselves, let alone their kids…..