(Photo: AP Images / James Crisp)
Over 2 million children are being homeschooled in the United States, a new study finds.
The National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) has released a study that estimates that there were 2.040 million K to 12 homeschooled students – or 4percent of all school-aged children – in the United States in the spring of 2010.
"The growth of the modern homeschool movement has been remarkable," commented Michael Smith, president of Home School Legal Defense Association, which contributed data for the research. "Just 30 years ago there were only an estimated 20,000 homeschooled children."
Research author Dr. Brian D. Ray arrived at the figure after looking at data collected from state and federal education agencies and private home school organizations. According to the study, he has high confidence that the true number of homeschooled children lies between 1.735 million and 2.346 million.
Ray notes in the study that he expects a "notable surge" in the number of homeschooled students in the next five to 10 years as those who were educated at home in the 1990s begin to homeschool their own children.
Contrary to the stereotype that homeschooling provides inferior academic preparation than public schools, another recently released study showed that homeschooled children outperform their peers before and during college.
In a study entitled "Exploring Academic Outcomes of Homeschooled Students," which covered homeschoolers at a mid-sized college in the upper Midwest, homeschoolers were shown to do better on AP tests, get high GPAs and achieve a higher graduation rate than students of public schools.
During their fourth year at college, homeschooled students earned an average GPA of3.46 when other seniors on average received a 3.1GPA.
While 66.7 percent of homeschooled students graduate college, a lower percentage of their counterparts, 57.5 percent, earn a college degree.
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states but some states have more strict regulations on the conditions for homeschooling than others.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court is set to hear a custody case on Thursday involving a homeschooled girl that was ordered by a state judge to enter public school after a guardian ad litem testified that the girl vigorously defended her Christians beliefs.
Her mother, Brenda A. Kurowski, is appealing the judge's order on appeal.
“Parents have a fundamental right to make educational choices for their children,” said John Anthony Simmons, an Alliance Defense Fund-allied attorney representing the girl's mother.
“Courts can settle disputes, but they cannot legitimately order a child into a government-run school on the basis that her religious views need to be mixed with other views."
HSLDA, which has filed a friend-to-the-court brief in the case, has said that if the trial court ruling is not overturned, it could set a precedent where public schools would always be favored over homeschooling in custody disputes.