Homeschooling Statistics in 2023 – USA Data and Trends

We all know about the age-long public schooling vs. homeschool debate. For a very long time, it seemed that public schooling always emerged victorious in every heated argument. However, the tides have begun to change. Recent statistics on home schooling show that more parents are taking this path and pulling their kids out of public schools. Let’s explore this data, shall we?

What Is Homeschooling?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of it all, we must first establish what homeschooling is. Homeschooling is an informal (or semi-formal) system of education where parents educate their children at home instead of sending them to a conventional school. Parents may choose to homeschool their kids for various reasons, such as personal educational philosophies, financial circumstances, health risks, and so on.

Contrary to what most people think, homeschooling isn’t a new fad churned by the media. It’s been in existence for several decades. In fact, the homeschooling movement gained momentum in the 1970s thanks to John Holt and Dorothy and Raymond Moore who were advocating for educational reform. These researchers proposed homeschooling as a suitable alternative to traditional education.

While homeschooling is great, it’s essential that you know the legal requirements before making any move. The legal requirements for homeschooling in the USA vary depending on the state. So, you’ll need to do a little research about your state before homeschooling your kid. Some states have minimal to zero requirements, while others might ask for standardized testing or portfolio reviews. Whatever the case may be, understanding the law’s stance will make it easier for you to transition into this new educational system.

Homeschooling Statistics

Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, let’s explore the critical homeschool statistics for 2023. Year 2023 promises to be an exciting period for parents as homeschooling will become more popular. But don’t just take our word for it. Let’s see what the data actually says:

Homeschooling vs Public Schooling Statistics

According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), homeschoolers typically score 15-30% higher than public school students on standardized tests. The average score for a homeschooler ranges between 85% to 87% while public schoolers score around 50%.

General Homeschooling Statistics around the World

In this section, we’ll explore some of the basic homeschooling statistics every parent needs to know:

  1. By February 2020, around 9 million US students had been homeschooled at least once.
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the homeschooling of more than 300 million students: During the pandemic, many parents were forced to take their children’s education into their hands, which led to a tremendous spike in the number of homeschooled students.
  3. 98% of homeschooled students participate in an average of 5 extracurriculars per week: Studies have shown that homeschooled students are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities than their peers in traditional schools. Thus, a large percentage of homeschooled students participate in up to 5 extracurricular activities.
  4. In 2020, there were up to 2.65 million homeschooled students and in 2021 – 3.7 million. By 2022, this number has grown to 4.3 million.

These general statistics show that homeschooling will continue its steady upward trend in 2023, even without another pandemic-induced spike.

How Many Homeschooling Students Are in the USA?

According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), there were 3.7 million homeschooled students in the USA during the 2020/2021 school year. The institute’s data also shows that from late March to early May of 2022, 5.22% of all school-age children were homeschooled. So far, homeschooling has had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.1% between 2016-2021.

According to the Census Experimental Household Pulse survey, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted homeschooling rates between March 2020 and the same month of 2021. The data from this survey shows that the number of homeschooling households doubled during the pandemic.

Homeschoolers in 2022 Homeschoolers in 2021 Homeschoolers in 2020 Homeschoolers in 2019 Homeschoolers in 2016
4.3 million 3.721 million 2.65 million 2.5 million 2.3 million

Although many parents switched to public schooling after the heat of the pandemic had died down, we expect homeschooling to continue its upward trajectory in the following years.

States with the Most Homeschooling Students

According to the data from the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), three states are in contention for the highest number of homeschoolers. These states are North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia (in that order).

As of 2021, North Carolina had 179,900 homeschooled students. Florida came a close second with about 143,431 homeschooled students. Georgia (in third place) had 85,510 students. In percent, North Carolina has a homeschooling rate of 10.6%, while the state of Virginia has 4.8%. Florida and Georgia follow closely with 4.6%.

States with the Most Homeschooling Students

The Top Reasons for Homeschooling

As we mentioned earlier, parents may choose to homeschool for a wide range of reasons. However, after paying close attention to the data, we pinpointed the major reasons for homeschooling.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (IES), up to 25% of parents listed safe environment concerns as the major reason for homeschooling. With school shootings and peer-related crimes on the rise, more parents are choosing to educate their kids behind the walls of their homes.

About 14.5% of parents cited bad academic quality as the main reason for homeschooling, while 13% decided to homeschool their kids because they wanted to provide and integrate religious instruction into the curriculum. Another group of 7.3% cited special needs as a reason for homeschooling, while 14% cited miscellaneous reasons.

Put simply, the major reason parents choose homeschooling is because they want to provide a safe learning environment for their kids. The dissatisfaction with the current academic system comes a close second, and religion serves as another primary reason for homeschooling.

Reasons for Homeschooling

Reasons not to Homeschool

Although homeschooling is a popular trend, not every parent has gotten aboard this ship. Many parents still have reservations about homeschooling their kid. According to EdChoice statistics, 16% of parents who choose not to homeschool do so because they feel that their child wouldn’t get the adequate amount of socialization needed to survive in real life.

15% chose not to homeschool because it clashed with their work schedule, and 14% cited time management as their primary reason for not homeschooling.

Here’s a full breakdown of the reasons parents choose not to homeschool:

Reasons not to Homeschool

Which Grade Has the Most Homeschoolers?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the highest homeschooling occurrence is among students in grades 6 to 8. In 2012, the dominant homeschooling grades were 9-12. However, this trend has shifted in recent times.

Here’s a breakdown of the overall age distribution:

Grade Level or Equivalent

No. of Homeschooled kids

2012

No. of Homeschooled kids

2016

No. of Homeschooled kids

2019

Kindergarten

12%

11%

8%

Grades 1 to 3

20%

18%

22%

Grades 4 to 5

15%

17%

18%

Grades 6 to 8

24%

24%

29%

Grades 9 to 12

29%

31%

22%

In general, the grade distribution seems to be roughly even across all grade levels above kindergarten.

48% of Homeschooling Households Have Three or More Children

Here’s an exciting statistic about homeschooling: up to 48% of homeschooling households have up to 3 or more children. About 33% of homeschooling households have 2 children, while only 19% have 1 child. While this data is mind-blowing, it puts an interesting perspective on the concept of homeschooling. One may say that it’s easier to homeschool in a household with more than two kids since there’s already a higher focus on kids. Thus, the more kids you have, the more likely you are to go down the homeschooling path.

3+ Children 2 Children 1 Child
48% of households 33% of households 19% of households

Similarly, NCES’ data also shows that 83% of homeschool students live in two-parent households.

The Average Cost of Homeschooling

Several studies and surveys have shown that homeschooling is significantly cheaper than public schools. According to Time4Learning, the average cost of homeschooling is between $700 – $1800 per child every year. This is significantly lower than the cost of traditional schooling which ranges between $1017.37 – $12,011.35 per year for public schools and $8787.37 – $19,781.35 for private schools.

Category Price range
Curriculum $350 – $750
Supplies & materials $150 – $300
Field trips $100 – $250
Extracurriculars $100 – $500
Total $700 – $1,800

1 in 3 Homeschooling Households Has an Annual Income of over $100,000

According to NHERI’s studies and statistics on homeschooling, 34% of homeschooling households have a combined annual income of over $100,000. 15% of homeschooling households have an annual income of $75,001 to $100,000. Finally, 21% of these households make between $50,001 to $75,000 each year.

Homeschooling Households Annual Income

Why Parents Choose Homeschooling

As we mentioned earlier, homeschooling has been on the rise, even before the start of the pandemic. But what’s the force behind this sudden popularity? Why are more parents choosing to homeschool?

We’ve studied the data carefully and we’ve come up with the answers to this huge question:

Safe learning

Although traditional schools are at the pinnacle of academic learning, it’s hard to say that they’re completely safe for all kids. More often than not, kids get bullied or harassed by their peers and even academic staff. In some cases (such as with special needs children), they may not get all the support they need from school.

This explains why many parents choose to take matters into their hands by homeschooling their kids. With homeschooling, you can ensure your child’s safety and create a safe space for them to learn.

Higher academic quality

Traditional schooling may work for most parents, but it certainly has a few drawbacks of its own. For instance, teachers in charge of large classes rarely pay special attention to each child’s specific learning needs. This causes many kids to lag in class, while their needs go unaddressed.

Homeschooling, on the other hand, takes care of this problem. Since you’re fully in charge of your child’s education, you’ll be able to provide top-notch tutoring and oversee the learning process.

Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

Homeschool programs have many advantages for an average parent and young learner. However, like any other educational system, it has a few downsides as well. In this section, we’ll address the pros and cons of homeschooling.

Pros of homeschooling

Flexibility

Unlike traditional schooling where you have to follow rigid rules set by the school, homeschooling is very flexible. As a homeschooling parent, you can make your own choices. You’ll be able to create your own curriculum and schedule. The best part? With homeschooling, learning isn’t limited to school hours.

Individualized education

Here’s the thing: every child learns differently. Unfortunately, traditional schools don’t recognize or cater to these differences. With homeschooling, you get to provide your child with the type of education they need. You can tailor lessons to meet their needs and fill any learning gaps.

Cons of homeschooling

Increased workload

Homeschooling can be a lot to take on, even for super moms and dads. In addition to your regular domestic duties, you’ll be a teacher, tutor, curriculum supervisor, etc. Throw grading assignments into the equation and we have an exhausted parent on our hands.

Less time for yourself

Since you’ll be taking on a lot of work at once, you’ll automatically have less time for yourself. Self-care and spa days are automatically thrown out the window. In the long run, this could lead to burnout.

Problems with Homeschooling Math

While homeschooling is fun, it can get tricky when it comes to math. In 2013, two researchers named Robert Kunzman and Milton Gaither carried out a study on homeschooling and discovered something interesting: a math gap.

According to their study, homeschoolers typically scored well above average in reading and vocabulary but slightly below average in math computation. They found that homeschooled students were less motivated to learn math than their peers in public schools. This is most likely a result of the difficulties most parents face when teaching math.

Thus, when homeschooling, parents must make extra effort to close this math gap.

Conclusion

Homeschooling has been on the rise in recent years and from all indications, this trend will continue in 2023. If you’re considering this path – whether physical or online homeschool – ensure you consider the legal requirements of your state and read the fine print.

Good luck!

References:

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