Homeschooling 101: What Is Homeschooling?

More parents are now choosing to homeschool instead of sending their children to public or private schools. Learn more about the homeschooling movement and what's involved when parents educate their kids at home.

What Is Homeschooling?

Mother and son with apples

Why do parents choose to homeschool? In what regions are homeschools most popular?

Homeschooling is a progressive movement around the country and the world, in which parents choose to educate their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional public or private school. Families choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons, including dissatisfaction with the educational options available, different religious beliefs or educational philosophies, and the belief that children are not progressing within the traditional school structure.

The homeschooling movement began growing in the 1970s, when some popular authors and researchers, such as John Holt and Dorothy and Raymond Moore, started writing about educational reform. They suggested homeschooling as an alternative educational option. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, there are now more than two million children being homeschooled in the U.S., with the percentage rapidly increasing by 7 percent to 15 percent each year. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and in many foreign countries.

What are the requirements?

Legal requirements for homeschooling in the U.S. vary from place to place. Some states have few or no requirements; others ask for portfolio reviews or standardized testing at certain intervals.

According to Holt, author of the best-selling book Teach Your Own, the most important thing parents need to homeschool their children is "to like them, enjoy their company, their physical presence, their energy, foolishness, and passion. They have to enjoy all their talk and questions, and enjoy equally trying to answer those questions." For the majority of parents who homeschool, the only prerequisite is the desire to do so, along with a dedication to the educational process.

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