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Report: The Changing Landscape of Homeschooling in the United States

July 22, 2019
By Aaron Hirch

Homeschooling was once perceived as an educational alternative practiced largely by conservative white families for religious reasons, but today it is more racially and religiously diverse than ever.

Educating children at home is a growing practice in the United States: the homeschool movement—frequently left out of the conversation about education—has much to teach us about creating more customized and effective school systems aimed at producing better outcomes for students. Homeschool families are hyper-autonomous units with tremendous freedom to create curriculum, redesign typical learning pathways, and build innovative partnerships.
Homeschooling is not a monolith and it is not static. These diverse homeschooling families are taking several innovative approaches to redesigning education—forming partnerships with districts, organizing themselves into collaboratives, and finding ways to promote equity.
Homeschooling has been legal in every state since the 1990s. While only 3 percent of K–12 students in the United States are homeschooled, this percentage has grown since 1999 and shows signs of continuing to increase. Homeschooling impacts the lives of millions of children and yet is understudied compared to other sectors of U.S. education.
This brief describes the state of homeschooling in the U.S. in 2019. Section I explores the changing demographics of homeschoolers. Section II gives an overview of new forms of homeschooling, including hybrid models. Section III outlines the variety of state policies that govern homeschooling.