Homeschooling Statistics: What Research Reveals About Homeschooling

By Laura Powell

How does a homeschooler score on tests compared to traditionally schooled students? How much does an average homeschooling family spend on curriculum? How does a homeschooler fare at college? All these questions, and more, are answered revealing current research on homeschooling families.

How Many Families In The United States Homeschool and Why Do They Choose This Path?

In a study done by Dr. Brian D. Ray, President of the National Home Education Research Institute, 7,306 participants were asked why they homeschool, and their responses were as follows:

  • 79.5% Believed they could give their child a better education at home
  • 76.7% Religious Reasons
  • 73.5% To teach their children particular values and beliefs
  • 69.2% To develop character/morality
  • 66.7% Object to what school teaches
  • 56.1% Poor learning environment in school

How Much Does An Average Family Spend On Homeschooling?

In a survey done by Dr. Brian D. Ray in Spring 2008 with 11,729 participants grades Kindergarten through Twelveth Grade from all Fifty States, Guam, and Puerto Rico, the median amount of money spent per homeschool student was between $400-$599.

How Do Homeschool Students Score On State Tests?

Do homeschool students do well in comparision to their traditionally schooled counterparts? The answer is yes! In the same study cited above in Spring 2008, homeschool students scored exceptionally high on test scores, in the 80th percentile, in comparison with the public school average of 50th percentile.

Also, a study done in 1997, of 5,402 homeschool students showed that on average, their scores were 30-37 percentile points higher than their public school counterparts. The study also showed that the longer a child was homeschooled the better the score was. For example, a first year homeschool student scored in the 59th percentile, while a student homeschooled two or more years prior to taking the test score int the 86th to 92nd percentile (

How Do Homeschool Students Do At College?

A recent study published in July 2010, by Dr. Michael Cogan, studied homeschool students at one Mid-west college. While this small study won't have the reaching impact as a larger study, here are his findings.

  • The homeschool students had a slightly higher retention rate, 88.6% compared to the counterpart at 87.6%.
  • There was a higher graduation rate from homeschooled students (66.7% compared to the counterpart at 57.5%).
  • The homeschooled students came in with a higher ACT score (25.0 compared to 14.7).
  • Slightly higher Grade Point Averages were held through-out the college years by the homeschooled students. (Fourth year previosuly homeschooled college students had a 3.46 average compared to the previously traditionally schooled students at 3.16).

Other Statistics On Homeschooling Families

The median income of a homeschooling family is $75,000-$79,999 (Dr. Brain D. Ray, 2009). And, homeschool parents have more formal education than the general population. 66.3% of fathers and 62.5% of mothers have college degrees or higher, compared to the general public. 29.5% of males over 25, and 28.0% of females have college degrees or higher (Dr. Brain D. Ray, 2009 study). Studies have shown that whether or not a parent has been a certified teacher has no relationship to the child's academic success when homeschooled (Ray, 2998, Academic Leadership Online Journal).

The percentage of families that homeschool are disproportionately white/non-hispanic at 91.7%. Finally, Dr. Brain D. Ray researched homeschooled children, that were now grown, and found many statistics (which can be purchased at his online site, but three specific ones were:

  • 71% of previously homeschooled adults served in their communities (in comparison with the public's statistic at 37-39% of service).
  • 59% reported that they were very happy with life (compared to the general U.S. population at 27.6%).
  • 94% said their religious views were the same as their parents.

What Do These Statistics Prove?

To many homeschooling families, these statistics show that what they have chosen to do is viable, and can lead to success for their child(ren). These studies show that homeschooled students are performing at levels above the public school, and that later in life, as adults, they are generally happy. For homeschooling families this research gives validity to their path, which often has opposition from those viewing homeschooling from the outside.