Have you ever wondered why people choose to homeschool rather than sending their children to public school, which is the norm, or often-costly private schools? Most families that choose public schooling do so because that is how they were educated, it is the normal way for children to be educated, and hey it’s “free.”
People who choose to send their children to Private schools do so because they feel it is a better education than public schools. This may be true as there are often smaller classrooms, and better resources than in public schools, but they are still schools. Homeschool families choose to homeschool for many reasons, including religious beliefs, problems with teachers or schools not helping their children when needed, having schedules that don’t co-exist well with traditional schooling, and a plethora of other reasons.
How many people homeschool?
According to The U.S. Census Bureau in 1999, there were approximately 791,000 homeschool students in the United States. By 2003 that estimated number was up to 900,000 to 2,000,000. Why such a large estimated number? Many states do not require any notification or paper work stating that you are homeschooling your child. Other states only require a letter of intent so they know the student isn’t truant. There is no real way to count how many homeschool families there are in the United States. The estimated growth rate for homeschooling families is between 7% and 15% per year (Reaching the Homeschool Market by Mark Lardas in Tdmonthly magazine, October 2003).
People of all walks of life choose to homeschool their children. While the majority of homeschooling families are Caucasian, middle class there are many families who do not fall into this category who homeschool. According to a 2007 study by The National Center for Educational Statistics 2.9 percent of school-aged children are homeschooled.
3.9 percent of those surveyed were white students
0.8 percent of those surveyed were black students
1.5 percent of those surveyed were Hispanic students
We have known many homeschooling families that are single-parent, single income. The single-parent chooses to homeschool for the same reasons as two-parent families, they just adjust school around work or work around school. We also know many teachers by profession who choose to homeschool their own children, rather than put them in the system. Homeschooling is not something that can be taken lightly, even when unschooling (child-led learning) there is a lot of work, time, and energy put into it.
First, let us say that homeschooling is not for everyone. If one parent wants to homeschool, but the other does not, it may not work. They children too may want to go to school, at least to see what it is like if they have never been there, or because they miss their friends and classmates if they have been there. Everyone in the immediate family needs to be on the same page as far as education goes.
As mentioned earlier there are many families who choose to home educate because they feel that public schools do not provide an agreeable environment to their religious beliefs. Others choose to homeschool because of overcrowding in schools.
In Queen Creek, Arizona (2005) school started with a new school not complete. The school was not to be completed until October or November of that year, a full 3-4 months after school started. To “solve” the problem of not having the school open they put 50 students and two teachers in classrooms designed for 25 students and one teacher. One parent, stated that her then seven-year old child was sent home on a different bus, and told by a teacher that he did not need to be on the same bus as his older brothers. When he did not arrive at home with his brothers the mother called the school, and was told he was not on campus, nor on any of the other busses. When he finally reached home, on a different bus, he told his father what happened. His mother was at the school talking with the police when her husband called to report her son arrived home, unharmed. At this time she was also made aware that the school district was busing children three to a seat because they did not have enough buses.
Does a situation like the one above support a happy, healthy learning environment? A growing number of parents across the country think not, and have chosen to take their children’s education in their own hands.
Trinity University did a study on why people homeschool. The reasons stated were:
48.9 percent believe that they can provide a better education for their children at home
38.4 percent cite religious reasons for home schooling
25.6 percent believe that there is a poor learning environment at traditional schools
16.8 percent cite family reasons
15.1 percent homeschool to develop morals and character in their children
12.1 percent object to what is taught in traditional schools
11.6 percent believe traditional schools don't challenge their child
11.5 percent cite they don't like the available schools
9.0 percent cite behavior problems
8.2 percent have a child with special needs
As you can see there are many reasons to choose homeschooling. None of these matter more though than the reason you, and your family decide to, or not to, homeschool. Homeschooling is not only a parent teaching a child, it is often a child teaching a parent.
The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start
The Homeschooling Option: How to Decide When It's Right for Your Family by
Real-Life Homeschooling: The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home
Tracy Chiniewicz. (2005). Interview with concerned parent.
National Center for Educational Statistics. (2007)
Trinity University. Why do parents homeschool their children.
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