Why do parents home-school? Worries about safety, drugs, and peer pressure at school, according to new federal data.
A report by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 1.8 million children were taught at home in 2012. That’s only a sliver—about 3.4 percent—of the total K-12 population, but the percentage of American students being home-schooled doubled from 1999 to 2012.
The report bases these estimates on a sample from survey data collected between 1999 and 2012.
Federal data find that 3 out of 4 parents who home-school had no formal preparation. Most of the rest had received at least some online training.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
A large majority of home schooling parents said they chose to home-school their children because of concerns over the environment in their original schools. Ninety-one percent said factors such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure helped drive them to home-school their children.
Home-schoolers skewed overwhelmingly white—83 percent—and more than 90 percent lived above the poverty line.
More than 30 percent of middle and high school home-schoolers took online courses. Of those, 25 percent took courses through a district school, 22 percent from a charter school, and 21 percent through a private school.
The survey also looked at parents’ education levels and teaching preparation. An estimated 26 percent of home schooling parents have a bachelor’s degree, and 18 percent had a master’s degree.
A version of this article appeared in the November 16, 2016 edition of Education Week as Worries About School Climate Motivate Home Schoolers