Local/State

Home schooling in NC doubles over 10 years

Monday, August 02, 2010

State education officials released new statistics Monday that show the number of home schools in North Carolina has more than doubled over the last 10 years.

There were 43,316 home schools for the 2009-2010 school year compared to 16,623 for 1999-2000.

Home schools are defined under state law as "a non-public school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household."

That means more than one child can attend a home school. The state estimates about 81,500 children statewide were homeschooled last school year. Compare that to about one and a half million who attended regular public schools - or slightly less than 5 percent.

Some professional educators say public schools need to take the numbers seriously.

"It's an indication that you have a disconnect, I think and there is something you need to look at," said Ann Denlinger with Wake Ed Partnership. "We need to approach public schools as a competitive enterprise. We're competing for the presence of your child."

More than a decade ago, Sandra Erickson says she started home schooling her three kids, because she was tired of them constantly changing schools under Wake County's re-assignment plans.

"They would have had three or four schools in their elementary," she said. "That's not the security I wanted for my kids."

Home school organizers say families home school their children for all kinds of reasons. The state says the biggest is for religious teaching which public schools cannot offer.

Home school parents also say they are beating back stereotypes that home school kids are nerds or socially awkward.

"They are seeing the proof in the pudding," Erickson said. "The kids are going. They are being accepted to universities. They're doing great and they're balanced well."

Two of her kids have moved onto college and graduate school. Erickson's 16-year-old is taking a class on a school campus, but at NC State University.

For more detailed statistical information, visit the N.C. Division of Non-Public Education website at http://www.ncdnpe.org/homeschool2.aspx.

Wake County had the most home schools in the state last year with 4,023.

Here's the rest of the ABC11 viewing area:

  1. Chatham 264
  2. Cumberland 1265
  3. Durham 717
  4. Edgecombe 183
  5. Franklin 478
  6. Granville 329
  7. Halifax 176
  8. Harnett 621
  9. Hoke 239
  10. Johnston 968
  11. Lee 209
  12. Moore 387
  13. Nash 420
  14. Orange 403
  15. Person 221
  16. Sampson 209
  17. Vance 208
  18. Wake 4023
  19. Warren 73
  20. Wayne 370
  21. Wilson 282

North Carolina officially legalized the concept of home instruction in 1985.

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