The National Center for Educational Statistics estimates that over 1.5 million children were homeschooled in 2007, nearly double the number from a decade earlier. This means that homeschoolers account for roughly one out of every fifty K-12 students in the United States. Beyond these broad numbers, it is often difficult to make general statements about children who are homeschooled. With no regulatory body, the homeschooling experience can vary widely. Nonetheless, common themes can be found in the reasons parents give for homeschooling. These reasons are typically related to concerns over the school environment, a desire to provide religious or moral education, or being dissatisfied with the academic rigor offered by the school.
Perhaps the most common questions that arise regarding homeschooling concern the academic and social development of children. Although there has been relatively little research conducted in either area, there are many examples of homeschooled students having normal (and in many cases even advanced) social and academic development. But, as with any type of education, advanced development is not guaranteed. It varies based on the specific needs and abilities of the student as well as the educational opportunities offered.
Parents thinking about homeschooling should consult state and local education laws and consider carefully whether they have the time, resources, and ability to provide an educational environment that meets their child’s needs.
—Matthew Makel, PhD