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Home Schooling: The Growth of a Movement.

In 1994, the Census Bureau estimated that 360,000 American children were being home-schooled. In 1996, the U.S. Department of Education pegged the number at 640,000. And on August 1st of this year, the department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a study (Home Schooling in the United States: 1999) that confirms the continuing rapid growth and increasing acceptance of the home-school movement. It is the first attempt by the NCES to estimate the number of home-schooled students, the characteristics of such children and their families, parental reasons for home schooling, and government-school support for home-schoolers.

The July 2001 study is based on data gleaned from a telephone survey of 57,278 households during the first five months of 1999 by the Parent Program of the National Household Education Survey Program, 1999. It found that an estimated 850,000 children ages five through 17 (the midpoint of a possible range of 709,000 to 992,000) were being home schooled at the time.

The parents interviewed cited sundry reasons for their decision to home-school. Topping the list were: "Can give child better education at home"; "Religious reasons"; and "Poor learning environment at school."

The survey found that most home-schooled students are likely to live in a two-parent family, with two or more siblings, and with only one parent working outside the home. Also, parents who home-school are, on average, better educated than the general population, though their income is about average. Laura Derrick, spokeswoman for the National Home Education Network and the parent of two home-schoolers, explains: "These are families that have one income, and have sacrificed to live on one income" so that one parent can stay at home.
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Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 10, 2001
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