Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Home School Statistics

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Numbers don't lie, and a variety of homeschool information show the positive impact that teaching your kids at home can have. Let's consider some of these numbers.

First, you should know that in 2007 (that last year we have for these numbers), approximately 1.5 million students were taught at their own homes. This was a 36 percent increase over the previous numbers in 2003. We can estimate that today, that number is approaching 2 million students.

Why such a startling increase? Although there are almost as many reasons as there are students, the most common reasons can also be determined by currently-available statistics. The Department of Education reports that 36 percent of students have parents who are concerned about giving their kids moral or religious instruction; 21 percent are concerned about peer pressure or drugs in public schools. About 17 percent said they were dissatisfied with the academic instruction available at public schools. And 7 percent of parents said they were interested in a nontraditional education method.

What's more, it's likely that the government is actually underestimating the number of homeschooled children. This is because in many states, there is no requirement for the parents to report on their children's progress. The official government numbers vary from year to year, but regularly show something like 2 or 3 percent involved in homeschooling. In reality, though, this number could easily be as high as 5 or even 6 percent. If it is this high, this is a mind-blowing number!

So let's say you've gotten discouraged with the public school system and have decided to give homeschooling a try. First, make sure you understand your particular state's rules regarding homeschooling. It's important that you follow these rules to the letter, because there are a lot of anti-homeschooling forces that would love to shut you down. Make sure you're following any state-prescribed curriculum and if your state requires any kind of certification, that you or your tutor has it.

And don't assume that because a friend in one state told you something is required that the same holds true in your state. There are vast differences from state to state. For instance, in Florida, parents can homeschool, but there is a direct reporting requirement. This includes an annual evaluation of their children's progress, given by the local school district.

In other states, such as California and Alaska, there are even homeschool public schools and homeschool charter schools. These are homeschooling families who enroll their students in state-approved classes, but they allow their students to take these classes in a distance-learning context.

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