Homeschooling continues to grow. The reasons may surprise you.

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More and more families are making the decision to homeschool. No longer confined to ultra conservative religious groups, homeschooling is growing at a rate of 11% per year and for a variety of reasons.

More and more families are making the decision to homeschool their children and the the list of reasons why is growing almost as fast as the number of families doing it.

In a 1999 survey, the National Center of Education Statistics found that approximately 850,000 students ranging in age from 5 to 17 were being taught at home instead of attending a public or private school.

Since that survey, education experts believe this number has reached between 1.5 million and 2 million children. This would indicate that more kids learn at home than attend all the public schools in Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming combined.

"Very different people are entering home schooling than did 20 years back," says Mitchell Stevens, author of Kingdom of Children, a history of home schooling to be published next month by Princeton University Press.

According to the Federal Government, up to three-quarters of the families that home school today say they do so primarily because, like so many of us, they are worried about the quality of their children's education.

Homeschooling, which is legal in every state, simply means that the parent takes charge of the child's education instead of sending them to a private or public school.

And they seem to be doing a better job of it. According to a recent article in Time.com, the average home schooler's SAT score is 1100, 80 points higher than the average score for the general population.

Colleges and Universities are starting to catch on to the success of homeschooling as well. Today Harvard admissions officers attend home-schooling conferences looking for applicants, and Rice and Stanford admit home schoolers at rates equal to or higher than those for public schoolers.

Political influence is growing as well. Home schoolers run one of the most effective lobbies in Washington, with connections all the way to the White House, where the President recently hosted a reception for home-schooled students. Bush's Under Secretary for Education, Eugene Hickok, was quoted as saying, "We cannot blame people for exercising their choices and home schooling until we have some real changes out there."

For more information on homeschooling, visit http://www.myhomeschoolsite.com/ where you can discuss homeschooling issues with families from around the nation, review legal resources by state, and even participate in online lessons from home.

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Brian Rooney
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