NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Homeschooling Keeps Growing

July 1, 1996

The ranks of homeschooled children is rapidly growing. From 15,000 to 20,000 in the late 1970s, their numbers have grown to perhaps 600,000, with some estimates at more than one million. The trend is likely to continue as CD-ROMs, Internet services and educational networks allow scattered students access to specialized expertise. For example:

  • Software publisher Corel has a classic books program that incorporates more than 3,500 unabridged literary works, video clips and hundreds of illustrations.
  • The Clonlara School provides on-line support, resources and evaluations for more than 5,000 students worldwide for an annual tuition of $475 per family.
  • Scholars' Online Academy links instructors and students all over the country in a college preparatory program that offers a core curriculum at prices ranging from $250 for one course to $1,120 for eight.

More than $300 billion is spent annually in the U.S. on education from kindergarten through grade 12. Hal Clarke Inc., a publishing and market research firm, estimates that home school families spend about $1,500 a year on books, software, videos and educational materials.

There is evidence home school children get a better education than children in public schools. They consistently test above national norms on standardized tests, according to a researcher at the U.S. Department of Education.

On the other hand, a three-year Temple University study of 20,000 high school students found that one-third to 40 percent of them aren't trying very hard or paying attention in class.

Source: Britton Manasco, "Special Ed: Factory-like Schooling May Soon Be a Thing of the Past," Reason, July 1996, Reason Foundation, 3415 Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90034, (310) 391-2245.


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