Home Schooling – Part I – Understanding the Demographics of Homeschooled Students

Homeschooling in the U.S. has been around for a long time, actually since the country was founded.  However, it has received a tremendous amount of attention since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While homeschooling has always had its fair share of proponents and critics, homeschooling really became a hot issue when in-person schools were unexpectedly forced to shut down, leaving teachers, parents, and students scrambling to maintain a decent learning environment.

During the current school year, as many as 3.7 million students are being homeschooled, which accounts for 3% to 4% of the U.S. population of school-aged children.  To be considered a homeschooled student, a child must receive an education at home and attend classes at a brick-and-mortar school less than 25 hours per week.

Contrary to what many critics say about educating children at home, specifically about the socialization of theses kids, 98% of homeschooled children attend an average of five separate activities outside of their homes.  Most homeschooled children get plenty of socialization through their extracurricular participation.  These children are less susceptible to peer pressure because they are not competing to be popular or to have the latest trend in clothing.  They are fully supported by their family and community, so parents and grandparents have a stronger influence on them. 

To dispel other myths about homeschooling and the families that participate in it, let’s look at some addtional data.

Approximately 51% of homeschoolers are female and 49% are male, so an equal distribution among genders.

We see a noticeable difference in who is being homeschooled in terms of race.

Today in the US:

  • 68% of homeschooled students are Caucasian
  • 15% of homeschooled students are Hispanic
  • 8% of homeschooled students are Black
  • 4% of homeschooled students are Asian

With an impressive 9 million people in the U.S. who have been homeschooled at least once in their lives, it makes sense that the rate of students being homeschooled each year is increasing.  Many homeschooled children will be homeschooled for elementary grades and then enter a traditional school for high school.  The opposite can also be true, they attend elementary school and then get homeschooled as they prepare to enter high school. 

Looking at how many students are homeschooled by grade level, the numbers are virtually equal across each grade level.

In a typical year:

  • 23% of homeschooled students are in grades K-2
  • 22% of homeschooled students are in grades 3-5
  • 24% of homeschooled students are in grades 6-8
  • 31% of homeschooled students are in grades 9-12

Prior to 2019, the rate of homeschooled children in the U.S. increased each year between 2% to 8%.  Since the fall of 2020, the rate of increase is holding steady at about 9%.  And a staggering 300 million school-aged children have experienced homeschooling since the beginning of the pandemic.

When you look at success statistics, 25% of homeschooled children work a full grade level above where their counterparts attending traditional school are.   And, 67% of homeschooled students graduate college.

Homeschool success depends on the commitment and support of the student, parents, family members and the community.  The statistics reflect a high level of success, especially given the high rate of college graduation for those students who are homeschooled.