If you are not happy with the education your child is getting at your traditional district school, then what do you do?
If you are lucky enough to live in an area where it is an option, you may choose to send your child to a public charter school.
If you can afford it, or you live in a state with an ESA program, you could consider sending your child to a private school.
But if you can’t afford a private school and a public charter school is not a possibility or a good fit for your child’s needs you might not have many options other than to pull your child our of the traditional school and educate them at home yourself.
That may be why homeschooling has been steadily growing as an alternative to traditional district schools for years.
In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of homeschool children has doubled since 1999 and a recent EdChoice survey shows that 10 percent of families would homeschool their children if it was feasible.
The data also shows that homeschooling families are getting more and more diverse. In 2016 (the most recent data point), 132,000 black families in the United States chose to homeschool (8 percent of total homeschooling families) and a whopping 400,000Hispanic families chose to homeschool (6 percent of the total population of homeschoolers).
Just as the portrait of a homeschool family is changing, so too is what it means to homeschool, according to a new report by the Center for Reinventing Public Education.
While many homeschool families still develop their own curriculum and teach their own children in their home, other models of homeschooling are developing that provide a wide range of options and opportunities for students.
Many homeschool families participate in co-ops, or groups, that can range from parents meeting on a monthly basis to share notes and encouragement to creating a more structured system where parents take responsibility for teaching specific subjects to groups of homeschool students. Some parents have evolved this model so far as to create micro-schools.
Online groups both on social media and facilitated through homeschool specific websites also allow parents to coordinate field trips, ask each other questions, and share resources.
Virtual education helps homeschool families access premade and delivered curriculum for subjects the parents may not feel qualified to teach and a growing movement of hybrid homeschooling is providing parents access to the best aspects of private and public schools while also providing the freedom to teach some subjects at home.