Discouraged that only white and wealthy people homeschool? Don’t be fooled!

Photo: Migs Reyes

One of the most common stereotypes of homeschoolers is that they are all white, wealthy, Christian and live on a farm.  But actual facts contradict those ideas.  Homeschooling cuts across demographic lines, proving that nearly anyone can homeschool their children.

A US Department of Education study in 2019 showed that the demographics of homeschoolers reflected a wide variety of races.  At that time, 41% of homeschool students are Black, Asian, Hispanic and other non-white categories.  (Note that the term “Black” is the categorization used in the study and used here for consistency.)

And the population continues to change.  Covid-19 drove a huge wave of new homeschoolers, tripling the number of homeschooling households in the country.  According to the Census Bureau, the population of Black homeschooling families increased by 500%!  The Hispanic population grew by 95%, nearly doubling, while Asian homeschooling families increased by 80%.  How much did the White community grow?  A relatively slow 70% increase.  That means the people of color make up a larger fraction of the homeschooling community than in the past. 

The same Department of Education study noted that 20% of homeschool families were below the poverty line.  That compares to 13% of the general population.  In other words, homeschooling families are more likely to be low-income than typical families.  This deflates the idea that homeschoolers are only wealthy people.

Similarly, homeschoolers aren’t all Christians. Hard statistics regarding the religious mix of homeschoolers is hard to find, but Brian Ray, Ph.D. who has been researching homeschoolers for over 30 years concluded, “A demographically wide variety of people homeschool – these are atheists, Christians, and Mormons; conservatives, libertarians, and liberals; low-, middle-, and high-income families; black, Hispanic, and white; parents with Ph.D.s, GEDs, and no high-school diplomas.” (Emphasis added.)

It would be a inaccurate to say that the majority of homeschooling families are categorized as poor, minority families, but classifying all homeschool families as privileged is an insult to those who do fit that profile. Like any cross-section of the country, homeschoolers are a diverse assortment of individuals.  Taking an individualized approach to education is what distinguishes homeschoolers from others.  Lumping all families into a single stereotype is a disservice to the community.   We are all in this together, for the good of our children.

Homeschoolers do not need to fall prey to stereotypes of “privilege”. Instead, we should be proud that the appeal of homeschooling cuts across demographic lines.

At Homeschool Awakening, we are delighted to help all families start and continue homeschooling.

Mike is a co-founder of Homeschool Awakening where he devised the HEART diagnostic and writes a lot.  A father of 5 and homeschooling for more than 15 years, he has been in the trenches and understands the thrills and challenges.  When he is not writing, he is typically on an adventure with his family.

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