This post is dedicated to all homeschooling parents—especially those who included “take up homeschooling” among new projects inspired by the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Over 2.5 million children—and rising—are homeschooled in the United States.
According to educational researchers, a home school day need be only 2–3 hours long.
“Unschooling” is a term preferred by certain homeschoolers who believe in operating without preplanned lessons and goals. Most experts agree, however, that some structure is necessary for home education to be effective.
The majority of homeschooled children are from white, two-parent, low-to-medium-income families. However, homeschooling in ethnic-minority families is increasing—and their children’s scores on standardized tests are equal to those of white counterparts, in contrast to “standard” education where white students score substantially higher.
Religious beliefs (including “atheist”) and parental education levels are represented in comparable percentages across the homeschooling spectrum.
Homeschool laws are separate from public- and private-school laws. The most obvious difference: Homeschooling parents don’t need higher-education degrees—in teaching or anything else—to qualify for the job.
Homeschooled children who grew up to be famous include Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Agatha Christie, Sandra Day O’Connor, Andrew Carnegie, and Alexander Graham Bell.
Homeschooling’s current popularity began in the 1960s and 1970s with the rise of countercultural movements and the removal of religious instruction from public schools. At the time, homeschooling was officially legal in only five states. It was 1993 before the right to homeschool was granted to parents in all 50 states.
The word “homeschool” was first included in the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 1998.
Many homeschooling parents join or form co-ops to support each other in their educational mission. Laws vary on whether co-op members are allowed to teach “classes” for multiple students, or only for their own children.
Just as children have individual learning styles, parents and families have individual homeschooling styles. Some names that have been proposed for various styles are: Traditional (using desks and tests like “standard” schools); Charlotte Mason (emphasizing learning environment and self-discipline); and Eclectic (any number of “blended” or personally designed approaches).
Stores that offer “curricula discounts” to teachers often sell to homeschooling parents at the same price.
Eighty-eight percent of formerly homeschooled adults are active members in volunteer programs, religious congregations, professional associations, or other organized groups. Among traditionally educated adults, the number is 50 percent.
Weird questions that have been asked about homeschooling include, “Do homeschoolers eat lunch?,” “Do homeschooled kids ever learn to stand in line?,” and “Do dogs really eat homework?” (The answer to that last question is “Yes”—although one could argue that for homeschooled kids, all schoolwork—or no schoolwork—is homework.)
Among the professions whose practitioners are most likely to homeschool their children—is public school teaching.