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The Children of America - Children In School

home enrolled age schools

The Census Bureau estimated that there were 36.8 million children of elementary school age in 2003, a decrease of 274,000 children from 2000. Utah and Alaska had the highest proportion of their population in the five to thirteen age group (15% each). Texas, Arizona, California, and Idaho followed with 14% each. Nationally, children age five to thirteen averaged 13% of the population.

TABLE 3.4

Number and percentage of homeschooled children, 1999 and 2003
Homeschooled students
1999 2003
School enrollment status Number Percent Number Percent
SOURCE: "Table 1. Number and Percentage Distribution of Homeschooled Students, Ages 5 through 17 in Kindergarten through 12th Grades, by School Enrollment Status, 1999 and 2003," in 1.1 Million Home-schooled Students in the United States in 2003, NCES 2004-115, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, July 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004115.pdf (accessed August 9, 2004)
Total 850,000 100.0 1,096,000 100.0
Homeschooled only 697,000 82.0 898,000 82.0
Enrolled in school part time 153,000 18.0 198,000 18.0
Enrolled in school for less than 9 hours a week 107,000 12.6 137,000 12.5
Enrolled in school for 9 to 25 hours a week 46,000 5.4 61,000 5.6

The American Housing Survey 2003 revealed that 25.7% of the 105,842 occupied housing units in the nation were home to children aged five to fifteen. In 82% of these households, children attended K–12 public schools while 10% were enrolled in K–12 private schools. Another 1% of children in this age group were home-schooled.

A variety of school choice options—magnet schools, charter and contract schools, vouchers, alternative schools, and home-schooling—have been introduced since 1980 in an effort to reform education for American children. The choice to educate children at home required the greatest commitment of time and effort on the part of parents. According to a 2003 report by the National Center for Educational Statistics, about 1.1 million children were home-schooled in 2003. The report revealed that between 1999 and 2003 the percentage of school-age children being educated at home grew from 1.7% to 2.2%. While the majority of these students received all of their education at home, 18% spent twenty-five hours per week or less enrolled in school. (See Table 3.4.) In an article titled "Why Johnny Learns at Home" in the August 16, 2004, edition of Publishers Weekly, home-school media consultant Zan Tyler projected that "the growth of home-schooling will continue between 7% and 15% annually." The article cited "conservative estimates" of the number of home-schooled children at two million.

The leading reason (31%) for parents' choice of home-schooling was concern about the environment in other school options. Another 30% of parents chose home-schooling for religious reasons. Other reasons, such as family unity and individualized teaching prompted another 9% of parents to elect home-schooling.

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