Homeschool enrollment explodes
Absolutely no one I know is satisfied with the education their children are getting in public schools. But most of the people I talk to with young kids have two parents that work full time outside the house and are unable to homeschool their children.
But a lot of parents are making the sacrifice as evidenced by the explosion of home schoolers in the US.
As dissatisfaction with the U.S. public school system grows, apparently so has the appeal of homeschooling. Educational researchers, in fact, are expecting a surge in the number of students educated at home by their parents over the next ten years, as more parents reject public schools.
A recent report in Education News states that, since 1999, the number of children who are homeschooled has increased by 75%. Though homeschooled children represent only 4% of all school-age children nationwide, the number of children whose parents choose to educate them at home rather than a traditional academic setting is growing seven times faster than the number of children enrolling in grades K-12 every year.
As homeschooling has become increasingly popular, common myths that have long been associated with the practice of homeschooling have been debunked.
Any concerns about the quality of education children receive by their parents can be put to rest by the consistently high placement of homeschooled students on standardized assessment exams. Data demonstrates that those who are independently educated generally score between the 65th and 89th percentile on these measures, while those in traditional academic settings average at around the 50th percentile. In addition, achievement gaps between sexes, income levels, or ethnicity--all of which have plagued public schools around the country--do not exist in homeschooling environments.
According to the report:
Recent studies laud homeschoolers' academic success, noting their significantly higher ACT-Composite scores as high schoolers and higher grade point averages as college students. Yet surprisingly, the average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students.
The numbers of homeschoolers will probably never come close to the number of kids enrolled in publci schools because so many kids are being raised by single mothers and many more live with families where both parents must work full time in order to make ends meet.
But it is possible that enough parents will opt out of public schooling that it will force reforms. Many federal programs dispense cash based on the number of students who will benefit. Fewer students in public schools mean less money for the schools. If public schools are forced to really compete with homeschooled kids, it may improve those schools for all.
Or, the teachers unions will simply go to their state capitals and see about curtailing homeschooling - or eliminating it altogether. They are already trying to make it more difficult and the fact that they are not having much success says a lot about the political popularity of homeschooling.