The Homeschooling Boom


There are more than 2 million homeschooled students in the United States today. That's a little more than 3% of the student population. How did this growing movement gain momentum, and what does its growth say about the state of education in America?

 The following video is a clip from Q&A 2 of Hillsdale’s Online Course: “A Proper Understanding of K-12 Education: Theory and Practice” with Jon Fennel, Professor of Education and Chairman of the Education department at Hillsdale College, and John Miller, Head of the Dow Journalism Program.


Watch the full Q&A



John Miller:

What do you think accounts for this new interest, this explosion of interest in homeschooling?

Jon Fennell:

Well, the point I was trying to make in the lecture is that when education is conducted intelligently, we have an idea of what we want to arrive at. We know, more or less clearly, what kind of person we want to have result from the educational activity. If you have that vision as a parent, and then you have your child in a school that can't allow him to arrive at that destination, then you are going to be tempted to take him out of that environment and put him in one where the educational activity will, in fact, result in that vision that you have.

John Miller:

A lot of our viewers, I'm assuming, are maybe homeschoolers themselves, or their parents were thinking about homeschooling. They sense what some of the attractions might be. They also probably have a few concerns about home schooling, they worry about social isolation, they worry about, [00:02:00] "Do I need to be a master of every subject from Quantum Physics to the metaphors in Macbeth, and all that. What's the ... Why is home schooling a good option? Would you encourage it?

Jon Fennell:

I would encourage it for many people. It's a very large burden. Anybody who does it knows that immediately. It is almost a full time job, especially if you have multiple children. I certainly am a supporter of it to the degree that the parents have the time and the expertise do it properly. What is disturbing is that so many parents feel they must do it, because they look at the schools as actually doing harm to their children. Sometimes, because they are so concerned about the harm, they will engage in home schooling without being altogether properly prepared to do so. Now, an entire industry has built up around home schooling, and so you can buy packaged curricular and so forth. There are support groups. There are even athletic support groups, where you can find places for your children to play sports even though they don't go to a school. A large supporting community has developed for home schooling parents.