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November 15, 2016

Number of Homeschooled Children Doubles in 13 Years

By William A. Estrada, Esq.,
Director of Federal Relations
Brandt Edmonston
Legislative Director


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The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) recently released the final executive summary of its fourth quadrennial survey on homeschooling, conducted in 2012.

Notable facts from the survey show that:

  • Homeschool students made up 3.4% of the school-age population in 2012.
  • There were an estimated 1.8 million students being homeschooled in 2012.
  • Concern about the public school environment was reported to be a major factor in nine out of ten parents’ decisions to homeschool their children.
  • Homeschooling has doubled nationwide since the first DOE survey in 1999.

Let’s look at some of the finer points of the survey in more detail.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a division of the DOE, found that among the children who were homeschooled, 68 percent are white, 15 percent are Hispanic, 8 percent are black, and 4 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander.

When parents were asked to identify reasons why they chose to homeschool:

  • 91% mentioned concern about the environment of other schools;
  • 77% mentioned a desire to provide moral instruction;
  • 74% mentioned dissatisfaction with academic instruction in other schools.
  • When asked to state their single most important reason for homeschooling, the greatest number of parents (25%) said it was because of their concern about the environment of other schools.

    What has changed?

    The most significant developments since the last survey in 2007 is that in five years, homeschooling has grown 17% when looking at the total number of students who are homeschooled. This result must be taken cautiously, since there were differences in methodology between the 2007 and 2012 surveys.

    It seems clear that homeschooling is alive and well. What is even more interesting, is that this growth was only recorded between 2007 and 2012, before the massive wave of opposition to the Common Core in public schools began. The DOE will release its 5th quadrennial survey on homeschooling next year, which will show if homeschooling has grown even more rapidly since 2012 due to concerns over the Common Core (as well as other factors, such as bullying).

    While this survey is reporting on data that is now nearly 4 years old, it is a good snapshot and confirmation of what we already knew. Homeschooling is a sound, high-quality alternative form of education that is enjoying ever wider acceptance. Here at HSLDA, we are determined to ensure that these trends are allowed to continue, and that the homeschool community retains the right and opportunity to continue flourishing.

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