Homeschoolers Estimated at 850,000

August 2, 2001

Approximately 850,000 children were receiving their education at home in 1999, according to a new report released today by the U.S. Department of Educations National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Home Schooling in the United States: 1999 reports that about 1.7 percent of children ages five through 17 — the equivalent of grades K through 12 — were homeschooled.

“The number of parents taking direct responsibility for teaching their children through homeschooling is approaching a million,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, “and we expect the next report on homeschooling will reflect growth in the population and new homeschooling opportunities.”

The study found that homeschoolers are more likely than other students to live with two or more siblings in a two-parent family, with only one parent working outside the home. Parents of homeschoolers are, on average, better educated than other parents, though income is about the same. The percentage of homeschooled students remained about the same at each grade level and at each level of family income. Boys and girls were equally likely to be homeschooled.

Parents gave various explanations for homeschooling their children. The most widely reported reasons were that they could give their child a better education at home, religious reasons, or a poor learning environment at school.

Parents were asked about relationships with their local schools. According to the report, about 18 percent of homeschoolers were enrolled in schools part-time. About 11 percent said they used books or materials from a public school and about 8 percent used a public school curriculum. About 6 percent of homeschoolers participated in an extracurricular activity provided by a public school or school district.

The report marks the first time that NCES has developed an estimate of homeschooling. “We look forward to repeating and extending the items asked about homeschooling in the 2003 Parent and Family Involvement Survey of the National Household Education Surveys Program,” said acting commissioner of education statistics Gary Phillips. “Then we can answer important questions about whether homeschooling is increasing or decreasing and whether public and private school participation in homeschooling is changing.”

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