Homeschooling is still not a mainstream mode of education; however, it is rising steadily worldwide.
In some jurisdictions, homeschoolers are not required to report their choice to homeschool, while in others, homeschooling remains illegal, but some parents choose to home-educate their children regardless. For this reason, it is difficult to estimate the exact number of homeschooling families. The numbers we do have indicate that approximately 27,000 children were homeschooled in Canada (as of 2015) and a whopping 1.7 million in the United States as of 2017. In Europe, homeschooling statistics continue to rise, despite of the illegal status of homeschooling in many countries in the continent. Worldwide, the number of homeschooled students is extremely difficult to estimate, but statistics indicate that this method of education is growing across continents.
Legal Status of Homeschooling Worldwide
Homeschooling is illegal in several countries, including: Sierra Leone, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, San Mareno, and Sweeden.
Despite this, several parents choose to risk legal action and homeschool their children anyway. The most well-known case is that of the Wunderlich family, whose children were seized by police because their parents chose to homeschool them. The family is fighting for what they say is their parental right, and the case has been taken to the European Court of Human Rights.
In countries where homeschooling is legal, the requirements for homeschooling (or lack thereof) is often left up to individual states or provinces. In Canada, some provinces have strict requirements and provide funding for homeschooling families, while in others, parents have complete liberty to choose how to homeschool, but do not receive financial support.
Types of homeschooling
Homeschooling can take many forms, from the highly structured to the highly free-form. Some parents choose Classical Education, others follow the Charlotte Mason method, and yet others choose the Waldorf method. Many homeschoolers use an eclectic method, picking and choosing from various curricula to provide a truly personalized education for their children. Finally, some parents choose to unschool, meaning that they do not provide any lessons, and let children dictate their own learning. Some unschooling parents firmly believe that children learn through play more effectively than any other method, while others seek out information about their child’s interests as they arise. Many unschooling parents still take part in some structured activities outside of the home.
Homeschooling doesn’t necessarily mean school at home
Homeschooling can be a misleading term. The majority of homeschoolers spend more time out of the home than within it, attending homeschooling programs, library programs, homeschooling group lessons, and other social activities. Some homeschooling parents stay put in their hometown, with some trips outside of it for educational opportunities. However, the number of parents who travel the world while educating their children is growing. Often dubbed “world schooling” or “road schooling,” this method of education sees families experiencing the world while learning through those experiences. These parents often conduct nature studies, history lessons, and teach geography while visiting different spots. Some use programs at National Parks in order to teach science and reinforce the learning that takes place at these locations.
Parents have many reasons for choosing to homeschool. Some choose to do so because they are unhappy with the school system and cannot afford private schools, others choose to homeschool to have freedom of time and movement. Yet others choose to homeschool to cater to children with special needs, and the list goes on. Regardless of the reason, the number of homeschooled children is likely to continue to grow over time.