The percentage of children being homeschooled has increased from 2.2 percent in 2003 to 3.4 percent in 2012, as reported by the US Department of Education. This may seem like a relatively small change, but that is almost a 62 percent increase within the last decade.
To help you visualize those numbers a little better, 2.2 percent of all students in the United States is 1,096,000. When that number increases to 3.4 percent, that represents 1,773,000 students. In that way, the number of homeschooled students has increased by 677,000 in less than ten years.
The rise of virtual learning opportunities is the main reason for the increase in students being homeschooled. There have always been parents dissatisfied with the education system, or wish to remove their children because of bullying, school violence or religious beliefs. Access to virtual learning makes it easier for these parents homeschool their children, especially for single-parent families or families where both parents work. Traditional homeschool methods typically require one parent to stay home to teach the child, but now the child has the ability to learn more independently and track his or her progress online.
Virtual learning takes the form of online classes, full time virtual charter schools or blended online learning where students combine online and classroom-based learning. These programs are flexible and allow students to work at their own pace. Advanced students can move ahead and students who struggle have the opportunity to slow down without falling behind. Coursework can be customized and tailored to the child’s needs and interests.
The number of families choosing to homeschool their children is expected to continue growing as virtual learning develops and homeschooled students continue to excel. Next Step Academy aims to be a part of that cutting edge, offering more than 70 online courses in life skills and careers-in. To find out more how you can integrate online learning into your curriculum, visit NextStepAcademy.com