Homeschooling occurs around the world, in places such as the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Homeschooling often comes under criticism for not being as disciplined or thorough as traditional schooling. However, many advocates of homeschooling say that homeschooling is just as good as, if not better than, traditional brick and mortar schooling.
The National Home Education Research Institute reports that 2 to 2.5 million students were being homeschooled for the 2007-2008 school year. In addition, home school rates rise 5 to 12 per cent each year. Families with three or more children and two parents, with only one present in the work force, have a higher rate of homeschooling. The Home School Legal Defense Association notes that costs to home school vary, from £130 to around £390 per year. Homeschooling is more prevalent among white families, with 2.7 per cent of them homeschooling. Black families have a homeschooling rate of 1.3 per cent, while Hispanic families have a 0.7-per cent rate.
Homeschooling becomes an option for parents for a number of different reasons. Some parents opt to home school their children due to excessive bullying of the child. Others choose homeschooling for a child because of a physical or The National Center of Education Statistics states that, of the families surveyed, 31 per cent of parents choosing to home school do so because of a distaste for school environments. Religious and moral reasons make up 30 per cent of the reasoning for homeschooling, while 16 per cent of parents are unhappy with the academic climate of traditional schools.
Several reports exist stating that homeschooled students have a bit of an advantage over those that attend traditional school. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, ACT and SAT scores of homeschooled children were both higher on average than the national average. Homeschooled students scored an average of 22.5 on the ACT and 1092 on the SAT, whereas the national average for the tests are 20.8 and 1020 respectively. Dr. Lawrence M. Rudner performed an independent study known as “The Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998,” which found that on average, homeschooled students performed at higher academic rates than those in traditional schools.
Families decide what kind of curriculum they want their children to study, as there are several different approaches to homeschooling. The national curriculum is recommended for home school students, but parents are not required to follow this curriculum. Parents develop curriculum based on what may work best for their child. Some children work best with a similar set-up to traditional schools, but in a home environment. Other children respond to interest-based learning, with lessons revolving more around a child’s interests. When teaching at home, parents use books purchased from the internet and library books as resources. There are also books and workbooks available specifically for homeschooling.
In many cases, homeschooling is performed by a parent. The requirements for parents to begin homeschooling their children vary from state to state. Many states do not require a parent to be a certified teacher in order to become a homeschooling teacher. However, some states require certification. Parents may opt to hire a tutor to home school their children if they feel they aren’t capable. As the popularity of homeschooling grows, so do the amount of online home schools. These online schools often follow the national curriculum for students in an online setting, freeing parents from the responsibility of being the sole educator.