One of the Fraser Institute’s most downloaded papers illustrates the growing popularity of homeschooling.

The Fraser Institute’s Studies on Education Policy paper, “Home Schooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream (2nd Edition),” has become one of the Institute’s most viewed papers. The 24-page paper addressed various questions and findings about homeschooling in the U.S. and Canada over the past 25 years.

Questions Addressed About Homeschooling

  • What is homeschooling?
  • How does the government regulate homeschooling?
  • What is the history of homeschooling in North America?
  • How many children are home schooled?
  • What are the socio-demographic characteristics of home schooling families?
  • How do homeschooled children perform academically?
  • What is known about the socialization of homeschooled children?
  • What are the public policy implications of this experiment in private education?

Summary of Findings About Homeschooling

  • Homeschooling continues to grow in popularity among parents.
  • Scholars and studies comparing homeschoolers to other students continue to grow.
  • Numerous studies have found that homeschool students outperform public and private school students.
  • Internet use has helped homeschooling families connect socially and share pedagogical resources.
  • No significant advantage to homeschoolers if one or both parents are certified teachers.
  • The degree of government regulation has no significant effect on the academic performance of homeschooled children.
  • Homeschooling families reportedly spend less than $4,000 per year on homeschooling, whereas U.S. public schools spend $9,644 per child.
  • Formerly homeschooled adults report a life satisfaction score above publicly schooled peers.

The paper further explored advantages, religiosity, and growth of homeschoolers.

Karrie Emms referenced the paper in her article on trends and growth in homeschooling. She listed reasons families are choosing to homeschool and the benefits of homeschooling to children and families.

The Changing Face of Homeschooling

Homeschooling Questions and FindingsAt the end of 2011, I published a summary of most popular homeschooling news articles, common themes in media coverage of homeschooling, and the changing face of homeschooling. One of those changes is in the name homeschool rather than “home school.”

You may also have seen more specific media coverage of the unschooling approach to homeschooling apart from homeschooling as a whole.

There has also been some controversy over whether online school students or homeschoolers who participate in school programs belongs under the same umbrella with independent homeschooling. Local governments have begun to address these issues.

As homeschooling grows in popularity among families, public awareness moves from the general ignorance of 25 years ago to a widespread issue of concern, both pro and con. Homeschoolers of all forms and approaches have a stake in protecting educational freedom of choice.