During the 1980s, 40 million students attended public schools, but fewer than 100,000 children were home-educated. According to the U.S. Department of Education, over 48 million students enrolled in public schools in 2005, while the number of children being homeschooled has been estimated at just over 2 million. The ranks of homeschooled children have been increasing at the rate of about 7% a year and more than 10% in some states, far outpacing the growth of public schools, which has been about 1.3%.
Families homeschool for a variety of reasons. Answers in Genesis recently surveyed its homeschool constituency and through approximately 300 responses discovered the top reasons these families choose to homeschool. They include the parents’ desire to instill a biblical worldview in their children, the biblical responsibility that parents have to teach their children, and the poor moral (and learning) environment in many public schools.
One concern for parents who are considering homeschooling is how this education academically compares to public schooling. Extensive research, conducted in recent years to measure the academic success of home-based education, reported that home-educated students consistently score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized tests.1
Whether homeschooling is right for a family can only be determined after much prayer and research. Parents should start by asking the Lord for wisdom, then check online for information from each state’s Christian homeschool association.