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Home Education Facts and Stats

While homeschooling used to be described with words like, “alternative”, and “cutting-edge”, now it is common to hear homeschooling discussed as a mainstream education option on par with public and private school options. If you’ve never considered homeschooling before, here are some quick facts and statistics that might help.

How common is home educating?
There are currently approximately 2.3 million students being educated at home (2016), up from around 1.7 million in 2010. Homeschooling seems to be growing at a rate of around 7% per year by some estimates.
NHERI Research Facts on Homeschooling

Why do people homeschool?

Families chose home education for a wide variety of reasons. These can include the ability to custom tailor the child’s education to his/her interests, less wasted time in the classroom, enhance family relationships, accomplish more academically, increased socialization, and more. A survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, titled, “Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey,” asked the question, “Are you concerned about the school environment such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure?” 91% of parents said that this issue was important in making the decision to homeschool their children. At the time of the survey (2011-2012 school year), there were 1.7 million students being homeschooled. In addition to concerns about the school environment, parents also cited other reasons for homeschooling.

  • 77% of parents said that they had a “desire to provide moral instruction” as a primary reason.

  • 74% of parents were dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools.

  • 64% of parents wanted to use homeschooling as a way to provide religious instruction.

  • 44% of parents desired to provide a nontraditional approach to their child’s education.

  • 15% of parents said a driving force in their decision to homeschool was based on “other special needs” or “a physical or mental health problem”.

NCES PFI in Education

Over and over, research tells us that homeschool students are performing well academically. For the past 30 years, researchers have found that the homeschool students are consistently performing at or even exceeding the level of their public school peers.

In 2014, the SAT scores of homeschool students heading off to college were higher than the national average by a significant amount. The authors looked at 13,549 college-bound homeschool seniors. The homeschool students’ SAT scores were higher than the public school seniors’ by 0.61 standard deviations, 0.26 standard deviations in math, and 0.42 standard deviations in writing.

Homeschool and Public School Senior SAT Scores - 2014


Critical Reading







Public School




NHERI Research News

Can I homeschool as a single parent? What if I didn’t go to college? What if we are low-income?

These are common questions, and again, research has shown that the demographics of the family has little impact on the success of the students (less than 3% of variance). Having a committed parent working regularly on a structured program seems to be the biggest indicator of success for a student.

Homeschooling Across America Achievement and Demographic Characteristics

Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement

What about cost?

Taxpayers spend roughly $11,000 per student in public schools. Taxpayers spend nothing on homeschool students, instead that burden falls on the family. So what does the average homeschool family spend? About $600 per student per year. With the increase of internet resources and curriculums online (no physical books that the parent purchases), along with the help of a local library, you can even do a complete parent-taught education Kindergarten through graduation for free (please note that this is not the same as doing an “online/virtual public school” where certified teachers teach the students and you just provide the computer.)

NHERI Research Facts on Homeschooling

What about socialization?
First, let’s define socialization: Socialization is learning to function in society and to conform to the norms and roles necessary for society to function. This is something we all want for our children; it’s a necessity for them to be successful adults. Society is made up of multiple members of a variety of ages and developmental stages.

Socialization is not: spending 30+ hours a week in a room with 25 peers of the same age in order to learn to conform to the norms of that group.

Multiple studies have found homeschool students to be doing well in emotional, social, and psychological development. Home educated students are doing well in peer interaction, self-concept, self-esteem, leadership, family unity, and participation in community service. Homeschool students are regularly engaged in activities outside of the home which can include: field trips, 4-H or FFA, scouts, political campaigns, volunteer work, sports, fine arts, and church ministry. These students are actively involved in their community, feel a sense of civic duty, and give back to those around them. They are learning to interact with people of all ages, races, stages of life, abilities, and beliefs regularly. Your average homeschool student is already actively working on becoming a functional member of society - and that is what socialization is all about.

Additional Articles:
Homeschooling and the Question of Socialization Revisited
New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement  
Academic Statistics on Homeschooling

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