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The government says that 1.5 million students were homeschooled in 2007, a 36% increase since the last study in 2003.
The most recent Federal Government study concluded that about 2.9% of the K-12 students or 1.5 million students were being homeschooled in the United States as of spring 2007. The study was performed by the National Household Education Survey Program (NHES) and the results are available on the Dept of Education Website as part of the National Centers for Educational Statistics.
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In considering how large and significant the homeschooling movement is, I would ask questions about the trend, the reliability, definitions, and timeliness of these statistics.
The government homeschool statistics shows a 36% relative increase since the last estimate in 2003 when research reported 2.2% or 1.1 million students (1,096,000) homeschooled students.
I believe that the government is right in recognizing that homeschooling is growing rapidly. I think it is growing more rapidly than they say.
Why is Homeschooling Growing so Fast? The most common reasons parents gave for homeschooling was a desire to provide religious or moral instruction (36% of students) followed by concern about school environment such as safety, drugs or peer pressure (21%). Dissatisfaction with academic instruction was noted by 17% and other reasons such as family time, finances, travel and distance were mentioned by 14%. About 7% of homeschooling parents mentioned a nontraditional approach to education as paramount in their decision. Another 6% mentioned child's health problems or special needs.
Let's say that you had lost faith (or never had faith) in the traditional school system for your family and you decided to homeschool. You should try to understand the laws about your state's rules in homeschooling and you might even be able to understand and follow them precisely. Or, you might have done a reasonably good effort of understanding them and following the laws but you might have doubts as to whether you were fully compliant.
When the government called to survey your family situation, would you be really eager to participate in their survey? Would you quickly tell them that you had decided to keep the kids home?
Well, my point is this. Irrespective of how you personally would handle this situation, the fact is that the homeschool-types are not the ones most diligently reporting data into the government. They keep their heads down and they do not send in any superfluous information to the government. Without risk of over generalizing, it is safe to say that they are "pretty annoyed" about how much of their tax money is going into school systems and surveys which they don't feel helps them much.
I think the government undercounted the homeschoolers since they tend to not participate in government surveys, particularly about their children.
Time4Learning is vibrant, engaging, educational, and funny. It sure beats our previous homeschool curriculum which was textbook/workbook based.
Time4Learning is so effective that very little intervention is required. This works great if you're homeschooling multiple children.
Students are considered to be homeschooled if their parents reported them as being schooled at home instead of at a public or private school for at least part of their education and if their part-time enrollment in public or private schools did not exceed 25 hours a week. Students who were schooled at home only because of a temporary illness were not included as homeschoolers. DOE's National Centers for Statistics. Lets consider what this means.
What about kids in umbrella schools? In Florida, for instance, families can homeschool but must provide a certain amount of direct reporting including an annual evaluation to their school district. One very popular method of avoiding these responsibilities is to enroll your student in an Umbrella School (or Cover School). The family has now legally enrolled their child in a private school and has no reporting requirements to the state.
What about publicly supported homeschools? In California and Alaska and Florida, there are now "homeschool charter schools" and "homeschool public schools", a mind-bending set of new combinations. Essentially, the homeschool charter schools get the funds ("full time student equivalents) from the state to take responsibility for the children's education. Then, they enroll students and provide distance education. In Florida, the state itself has opened a distance learning virtual school (Florida Virtual School) that provides homeschool education.
Are these children being homeschooled? Yes they are. Well, many would argue that those enrolled in publicly financed distance learning program are not "truly homeschooling".
Are they counted in the government statistics? I don't think so.
Are these homeschooled children who do not get reported statistically important? Yes, counting the number of children that would appear to be homeschooled but who are not counted due to the definitions might double the number of homeschooled children.
The last two government counts of the homeschool market were in the spring of 1999 and 2003. This latest report completed in the spring of 2007 a new government count was completed. And as expected it reported that homeschooling has continued to grow.
Like many complex dynamics issues, the data around homeschooling is murky and out of date. The last large scale study was in 2007 and it reported that 2.9% of the population was being homeschooled. Here's my thoughts and questions on the statistics:
My children's favorite part of the day is their time on Time4Learning. This is the easiest and most consistently productive program we've used!
My kids can work independently or with my involvement. Time4Learning has enriched their education and simplified my life!
Nearly three percent of the population homeschooling is huge: six percent is mind-blowing. And so far, the significance of this trend is not really discussed or understood. Yes, these kids are protected from harmful influences at school. Yes these kids get a lot of personal attention. Yes, these kids learn to spell really really well. Yes, they go to college and to fine colleges in disproportionately high numbers. Yes, they've shown themselves to be creative (the best-seller book Eragon was written by homeschooler in high school). But, overall where does this trend lead? What does it mean for us as a society? What about when it's an immigrant groups that decide to homeschool and to do it with an education that is very alien and foreign to American values?
Welcome to Homeschooling Guide - Are you new to homeschooling? This guide was written by seasoned homeschoolers to answer some of the difficult questions new families often struggle with.
Curriculum Lesson Plans - An overview of the number of lessons that are included for each grade and subject. All students have access to at least 2 (and in most cases 3) grade levels of curriculum for each subject, so they can move ahead or review at their own pace.
The Lesson Activity Finder - One of the many helpful tools that Time4Learning offers its members. The activity finder is a shortcut that makes it easy for parents to preview lessons or find extra practice for their child. You can visit our hints and help section for more information about the activity finder.
Lesson Planning Worksheet - Wondering how many lessons to have your child do each day? Estimate the number of activities per day using this easy to use, printable worksheet.
Online Parent's Forum - Reach out to homeschoolers in your area, join discussions, ask questions and trade ideas on our online community of homeschooling parents. Having the support of seasoned homeschoolers can really help make your homeschooling journey a success.
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