What do two million children in the United States, 60,000 in Canada, 48,000 in the United Kingdom, and 30,000 in Australia all have in common?
They are all homeschooled.
Roughly four percent of students around the world are homeschooled. Families choosing to educate their children at home are growing. The number of homeschooled children in the UK rose 40% from 2014 to 2017, according to the BBC.
Families cite several reasons for choosing to homeschool. Many parents want to include religious instruction or some nontraditional element to their children’s education. Some children have mental health issues that parents feel are not adequately addressed in school. Others are bullied or negatively influenced by peers. A significant number of parents feel their school options are poor and that they can serve their children’s educational needs better at home.
Some countries – such as Germany – make it illegal, while others like Canada, the U.S., and Australia allow for homeschool regulations by province or state. In some countries, it is legal only for non-residents, such as in Kazakhstan where homeschooled children are mainly expatriates.
For relocating families, homeschooling can be an option worth exploring. Children already being homeschooled can keep the continuity of their curricula while abroad. Students for whom enrollment in a local school doesn’t make sense – due to length of stay, educational offerings, or other considerations – may find homeschooling is a solution.
Along with legality, information and resources vary. Residents of some regions can access well-organized information online, such as the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents (OFTP) which makes parents aware of provincial regulations, supports their right to educational choices, and provides all sorts of homeschooling resources.
The UK provides a starting point for parents looking to homeschool on this government website. You can search for local council information (England and Wales only) by entering your postal code.
In South Africa, the subject of homeschooling was contentious beginning in the early 1990s and through iterations of policy making it legal. Today, various Homeschool Associations operate around the country.
In the U.S., the Home School League Defense Association (HSLDA) has info on each state’s stance on home schooling. It also details, by state, how to go about withdrawing a child from traditional school, what sort of records to keep, and how to keep up with state assessments.
For parents interested in homeschooling, where do they start? First confirm legality and local requirements. Beyond that, assistance with organization, scheduling, curriculum, testing, reading lists, and creative lessons abound. Online courses can be invaluable. For some families they form the core of an educational day, while others use them to supplement parental lessons. Khan Academy is one source of free online coursework.
This very personal, important decision can be made once the family is educated on all requirements and choices.
Written by Ellen Harris, GMS, Product Manager, Content Group