For an estimated 850,000 children nationwide, getting up and going to school means getting up and staying home. A report released by the U.S. Department of Education in September shows that nearly 1.7 percent of American children (ages 5 to 17) were homeschooled in 1999 (the most recent year for which data is available). The percentage of homeschoolers living in two-parent households was much higher than the percentage for non-homeschoolers: 80 percent versus 66 percent. Parents of those educated at home also had a higher level of education than the parents of children not schooled at home. Forty-seven percent of parents of homeschoolers had a bachelor's degree or higher, compared with 33 percent of parents of non-homeschoolers. While the Department of Education found that the No. 2 incentive for parents educating their children at home was for religious reasons, a second report by Ventura, Calif.-based market research firm Barna Research shows that homeschooled adults have levels of church attendance, church volunteerism, prayer, Sunday school attendance and personal devotional times that are statistically indistinguishable from national norms. They did, however, have a higher incidence of Bible reading during the week. Put that on the â€œRequired Readingâ€? list.
Nearly 50 percent of parents who homeschool their children do so because they think they can do a better job.
Note: Numbers do not add to 100 percent because respondents could give more than one reason.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, 1999