The number of children taught at home has increased 20 percent in the past five years, according to Motoko Rich of the New York Times, while public school enrollment has been virtually flat. And there's little oversight of what, or if, homeschooled students are learning:
Eleven states do not require families to register with any school district or state agency that they are teaching their children at home, according to the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, a nonprofit group that is pushing for more accountability in home schooling. Fourteen states do not specify any subjects that families must teach, and only nine states require that parents have at least a high school diploma or equivalent in order to teach their children.
Counting exactly how many states require subjects to be taught is somewhat tricky, because some states explicitly state what subjects should be taught, while others leave the choice of subjects up to parents but require homeschooled students to submit to state tests. Some states also have different rules for children homeschooled by parents and children homeschooled under the supervision of a private or church school.
The map below, from the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, which advocates for tighter oversight of homeschooling, includes only states considered to have no subject requirements, whether those requirements are imposed directly or via testing. It looks at the least regulated option in each state, which could be solo homeschooling or homeschooling under the auspices of a private school or church school.
And here's where parents need a high school diploma or GED in order to teach their children at home — in most states, no qualifications other than parenthood are necessary:
The national trend, as Rich notes, is toward deregulation of homeschooling. Pennsylvania, Utah, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Minnesota have all loosened requirements for parents in recent years.
Update and correction: An earlier version of the map erroneously listed Iowa as having no subject requirements. The map has also been updated to reflect the states the New York Times article was referring to, according to the organization that provided the Times' analysis.