When I think about the various types of education, homeschooling is by far the most interesting one to me. Just like the growth of charter schools, homeschooling is also experiencing significant growth. According to data from the 2007 National Household Education Surveys Program, the increase in the homeschooling rate (from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 2.2 percent in 2003 to 2.9 percent in 2007) represents a 74 percent relative increase over the 8-year period and a 36 percent relative increase since 2003.1 Not surprising this relative increase is similar here in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where we rank second to last in achievement in the state and there continues to be a growing number of families dissatisfied with the school system’s ability to provide their children with a quality educational experience.
Even with the largest number of students taught through homeschooling in the state of Maryland—3,7592—homeschooling seems to still largely exist under the radar in Prince George's County. Although I met several parents committed to providing their children with the very best education via homeschooling communities, just getting one parent to participate in this interview was a challenging task. It was also difficult finding any research specific to homeschooling families in the county. Several calls and emails to the Prince George’s County Public School System’s Homeschooling Office, unfortunately, yielded no additional information.
While I understand why a family may choose to explore homeschooling as an approach to educate their children, I have often wondered why anyone, especially someone who may not be trained to do so, would embrace such a massive undertaking. Below is one woman’s experience. Hats off to everyone homeschooling!
A special thank you to Michelle Dunn, executive director of MYGIFT, http://www.mygiftprogram.org/, for connecting me to the absolute best person for "the interview."
Visit www.inreachinc.org for resources and to download the accompanying informational brief, SnapShot.
1 “1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2007” National Center for Education Statistics Issue Brief, December 2008
2 “Maryland Homeschooling Statistics.” The More Child. Blog Post: October 8, 2008. http://themorechild.com/2008/10/09/maryland-homeschooling-stats/