As education in America’s public schools continues to suffer, parents are choosing homeschooling at an ever-increasing rate. The number of parents starting their primary school children in homeschool is growing seven times faster than students enrolling in K-12 schools every year, according to a recent report from Education News. Though only 4 percent of children—about 1.5 million—currently learn at home, the number has increased by 75 percent since 1999, and will likely continue to grow.
The reasons for the shift are clear. Homeschool students typically score between the 65th and 89th percentile on placement exams. Students at traditional schools average on the 50th percentile. College recruiters are acting on these numbers: Students from “non-traditional education environments” get into college and earn four-year degrees at much higher rates than those from public and private schools.
“Homeschoolers are actively recruited by schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University, and Duke,” according to the report.
In addition to better results, the report also indicates that homeschool parents get more bang for their buck, dishing out on average between $500 and $600 per year for a student compared to the $10,000 per year average spent on public school students.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the study is what it reveals about the social aspects of homeschooling. Public schools have long wrestled with “achievement gaps” among their students, but those gaps simply don’t exist for the homeschool community. There’s no difference in achievement between sexes, income levels, race, or ethnicity among students educated at home, according to the report.
The study even addressed the all-too-familiar question, “But how are you socialized?” claiming that those educated at home tend to be more socially engaged than their peers. The report quoted another study by the National Home Education Research Institute, which said homeschool students demonstrate “healthy social, psychological, and emotional development, and success into adulthood.”
The study concluded that researchers such as Dr. Brian Ray expect “a notable surge in the number of children being homeschooled in the next 5 to 10 years,” in terms of absolute numbers and percentage, as past homeschool students homeschool their own children and results continue to outpace public schools.