This past week, news spread quickly about a newly released study from the Fraser Institute about the rise of homeschooling since the last study in 2006. Some of the results seemed to really surprise the general population – especially the fact that over the last 8 years, homeschooling in Canada has risen over 29%.
Home-school enrolments in Canada from 2006/07 to 2011/12 (the most recent period for which data were made available from each province) have increased by over 29% (table 4). In every province except British Columbia, home-school enrolments have increased and in British Columbia, if enrolments in Distributed Learning are included, enrolments have almost doubled in the period.
This news doesn’t really shock most of us in the homeschooling world. We’ve seen the constantly increasing numbers, information seekers, and parents looking for support as they make this decision to homeschool. We think that this number is going to continue to climb as the years move forward.
The overall amount of children being homeschooled in our country is still fairly small – at 0.4% of all students, compared to our American homeschoolers who have reached 4-5% of the schooling population.
Reasons for homeschooling seem to have shifted as well. Whereas once, the choice to homeschool was based from either a religious decision or one of fighting-the-system, today people are choosing this option because it meets their family’s or child’s needs more effectively.
The literature on home schooling indicates that motivations for home schooling are increasingly blurring and appear to be less radical and more practical, less an act of resistance and more an act of pursuing the possible.
My own discussions with homeschoolers and the constant emails for support and help have led me to believe this is true. In general, I think most of the reasons for people to have made the change from public school to homeschooling include:
- dissatisfaction with the school system meeting their child’s academic needs
- special needs not being supported, or worse – treated poorly
- bullying of their child, or even themselves as parents
- the want to teach their children how and what they want to
- family lifestyle: travelling, moving to another country or constantly, pursuing athletic or career passions
- a desire to do it a “different way” – approach learning from a different viewpoint than the typical school model