Thursday, November 20, 2008

U.S. Homeschooling Growing Quickly

A new study from Stanford University's Hoover Institution says that homeschooling in the United States grew 29% between 1999 and 2003.

I'd certainly be interested to know what the numbers are since 2003, which is the year we began homeschooling.

A survey last year showed that 45% of Americans know a homeschooling family, which is up from 40% the previous year.

I can certainly attest to these types of changes. A decade ago we didn't know any homeschoolers. Two of my closest friends -- neither of whom lives locally -- began homeschooling before I did, and after I started, my cousin checked out what my family was doing and took the plunge herself. She's now been homeschooling nearly as long as I have. Over the last few years my younger children have found local homeschoolers on their AYSO soccer teams, and my younger daughter's longtime Girl Scout leader became a homeschooler around the same time I did.

It seems that homeschooling is increasingly an ordinary fact of life, rather than being seeing as something exotic and unusual.

We have also noticed a surge in how many school-age children we see "out and about" during school hours. For instance, we go out to lunch with other homeschooling families a couple times a month, and we always see other families in the restaurants. Some of this can be accounted for by year-round students who are "off track," but it's highly unlikely that's the entire explanation, as there aren't all that many year-round schools in our area.

Over 75% of American colleges and universities now have admissions policies for homeschoolers, compared to just 10% in 1986.

USA Today had a good overview today of various options available for homeschooling families.


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