Another resource I think is valuable to those who want to learn more about homeschooling (which I’ve linked to here before and that I’ll be citing several times in the workshops next week) is the National Center for Education Statistics’ report, “Homeschooling in the United States: 2003.” The stats are a bit dated at this point, but they are also the most rigorously collected and carefully analyzed stats currently available on homeschooling. It is tremendously difficult to find studies of homeschooling that focus, like this one does, on homeschoolers as a whole rather than a very select group of homeschoolers. The authors’ comments in the NCES report speak to some of the difficulties in collecting information about homeschoolers, and some of their findings might surprise you. Here are just a few interesting factoids from the study:
- * The number one reason homeschooling parents (85.4% of respondents) gave for homeschooling their children was “concern about environment of other schools.” The number two reason (68.2% of respondents) was “dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools.”
- * Homeschooled children are more likely to come from two-parent families, have more siblings, and have one parent home full-time than their institutionally-schooled peers.
- * 77.9% of respondents reported using the public library as a primary source of learning materials. The library won out over homeschooling catalogs, bookstores, and homeschooling organizations–as well it should.
The NCES has started updating this data, and in December they published a new “In Brief” report, “1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2007.” It’s nothing earth-shattering, but it’s worth a quick read.