Consider these facts from the National Center for Educational Statistics. In 2007, the number of homeschooled students was about 1.5 million, an increase from 850,000 in 1999 and 1.1 million in 2003. The percentage of the school-age population that was homeschooled increased from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 2.9 percent in 2007. The increase in the percentage of homeschooled students from 1999 to 2007 represents a 74 percent relative increase over the 8-year period and a 36 percent relative increase since 2003. In 2007, the majority of homeschooled students received all of their education at home (84 percent), but some attended school up to 25 hours per week. Eleven percent of homeschooled students were enrolled in school less than 9 hours per week, and 5 percent were enrolled between 9 and 25 hours per week.
Parents give many different reasons for homeschooling their children. In 2007, the most common reason parents gave as the most important was a desire to provide religious or moral instruction (36 percent of students). This reason was followed by a concern about the school environment (such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure) (21 percent), dissatisfaction with academic instruction (17 percent), and “other reasons” including family time, finances, travel, and distance (14 percent). Parents of about 7 percent of homeschooled students cited the desire to provide their child with a nontraditional approach to education as the most important reason for homeschooling, and the parents of another 6 percent of students cited a child’s health problems or special needs. http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009030
Whatever the reasons for this trend, where does a homeschooling family go for resources to support their chosen curriculum?
Lora Shinn in a School Library Journal article “A Home Away from Home: Libraries and Homeschoolers” writes:
According to a 2003 study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), when homeschoolers were asked about their primary source of books and/or curriculum, 78 percent named their public library.
Leah Langby, the library development and youth services coordinator at Indianhead Federated Library System in Eau Claire, WI, says her husband homeschools their two children. “It is nearly impossible to homeschool without that amazing resource unless you have a ton of money for materials,” adds Langby, referring to her local public library. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6582320.html
The public library!
In her blog on Simple Home School, Renee Tougas writes:
The low cost factor alone makes libraries an attractive option for homeschooling families. Many of us are giving up second incomes to stay home and money is strictly budgeted. Public libraries are the best deal going to provide reading (& listening) material for your family. Our city offers an excellent inter-library loan system and free membership to the local branch. We decided to maximize this great resource and for now keep our home library to a minimum of loved classics and quality reference materials. http://simplehomeschool.net/how-to-use-the-library-in-your-homeschool/
How can the Glen Ellyn Public Library and village homeschooling families work together to provide the best education for our kids?
On December 6 at 10:30 a.m. and December 7 at 6:30 p.m. Childhood Literacy Librarian Robin Currie invites homeschoolers to the library to exchange information and brainstorm way to increase cooperation. “Homeschooling and the Library” will meet for 45 minutes in the Youth Department while children watch movies or attend storytime. Children must be 3 years old to attend the movie or stories without an adult. Register online at this link or in person at the Youth Department.
Image via jimmiehomeschoolmom on Flickr.