by Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.To celebrate National School Choice Week, the Goldwater Institute is highlighting five key areas of education reform. Today's focus is homeschooling. For more information about the Institute's groundbreaking work in this area, visit our Education Reform page.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 1.5 million students in the United States were homeschooled in 2007. One estimate of homeschoolers in Arizona puts the number at over 35,000. When the University of Arizona considered instituting a minimum SAT score only for homeschoolers, the president of the university resisted. Homeschoolers were the least of his problems when it came to students achieving, since homeschoolers have a proven achievement record in colleges and universities.
Homeschooling has come a long way. When my wife and I started homeschooling our daughter in the early 1990s, it had not been that long since homeschool families were pursued by truant officers. Today, homeschooling is much more accepted and takes on many different forms. Homeschoolers create co-ops where parents with different skills and knowledge teach each others’ children. They organize book fairs, sports teams, choirs, and field trips (often getting special praise for good behavior). And, homeschooled kids pretty regularly win the National Spelling Bee.
Homeschoolers sacrifice a second income in making the choice to educate their children, even as they pay the taxes to support public schools, scholarships to private schools, and charter schools. Education savings accounts hold out the promise that at least some who choose to homeschool will be able to recoup some of the costs they bear for the public system, making homeschooling a viable education choice for more parents.
Dr. Byron Schlomach is the director of the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Economic Prosperity.
A to Z Home's Cool Homeschooling: Number of Homeschoolers in the USA
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine: Homeschooling Comes of Age in College Admission (PDF)
National Center for Education Statistics: 1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2007 (PDF)