CambriLearn set out to survey homeschooling families across the globe to better understand why they’ve elected to homeschool their children and some of the challenges they faced as homeschooling families. We also wanted to understand if COVID-19 permanently changed the way families elected to educate their children.
Questions posed to respondents to complete the research
The survey asked respondents the following questions:
- How many children are you homeschooling?
- When did you start homeschooling (before COVID-19, during COVID-19 peak, and after COVID-19 peak)?
- Why did you choose to homeschool your children?
- Will you continue homeschooling?
- Which challenges do you face?
- Whether they follow a specific curriculum, and if so, which curriculum?
- Do you make use of additional teaching resources?
- Have you seen an improvement in your child’s marks?
Data collection methodology
The survey was shared on popular social media platforms, homeschooling communities, and was open from July 2022 to 31 August 2022.
Though the survey had respondents from 35 countries, the countries (or community groups) with the highest response rate were:
- The United States - 39.80% of the sample
- South Africa - 29.50% of the sample
- Other - 30.70%
Why parents choose homeschooling
When asked when they started homeschooling, most of the respondents (58.8%) either started before, or after the COVID-19 peak.
Of the respondents who started homeschooling during COVID-19, only 18.54% stated that they started homeschooling due to COVID-19. Indicating that 81.46% of the respondents had decided on homeschooling before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that their children’s first homeschooling year coincided with the COVID peaks between 2020 and 2021.
Statistics on how parents choose to homeschool their children
Do parents choose to follow a curriculum?
When asked if they are following a specific curriculum, 55.1% of parents said yes (using only one curriculum as a resource) and 26.9% of respondents stated that they use a mix of curricula to supplement their child’s learning.
Only 17.6% of respondents followed no curriculum, and less than 1% of respondents followed the “Unschooling” methodology.
For the purposes of this survey, we use the word curriculum to define a structured plan of study as created by an external examination body and not a specific provider. For example, the Cambridge / Common Core / IEB are curricula that will lead to a final exam as proof that the student has fulfilled the minimum requirements to complete their education. There are providers that follow the fundamentals of a curriculum.
E.g. CambriLearn provides course content aligned to the Cambridge curriculum, but presents it in a way that is unique to them, but is not a curriculum provider in this example.
Do homeschooling students track performance?
When asked if they saw an improvement in their children's grades, only 13% of the surveyed families stated that they don’t track grades, and 22.9% stated that they are unsure or that they’ve been homeschooling their children from the beginning.
Do homeschooling students perform better academically?
When we asked families who switched from traditional school to homeschooling if they’ve noticed an increase in their child’s school results, 89.6% of the respondents that tracked results said yes, with 68.2% stating a significant improvement and 21.4% stating a moderate improvement.
Only 9.4% of these respondents noticed a small decline in grades, with 1% stating that they saw a significant decline in their child’s grades.
Do homeschooling parents elect to employ additional teaching resources (other than curriculum providers)?
Of the respondents, 49.5% of parents said they don't make use of additional teaching resources, but of those who do make use of teaching resources:
- 49.3% make use of tutors or tutor centres,
- 30.7% of the respondents said they are part of a cooperative,
- and 20% said they employ a private teacher.
Statistics on homeschooling families that started due to COVID-19
Of the families who cited the pandemic as the reason for starting homeschooling, we are able to make the following observations.
66.7% of the families intend to continue homeschooling, despite schools returning to normal in most countries, and 8.9% indicated that they’re not sure yet.
Statistics on challenges homeschooling parents face
The top three challenges faced by homeschooling families, based on the total number of respondents were:
- Finding suitable socialisation activities for their children,
- Access to accurate learning materials, and
- Student motivation
Notably, the challenges parents face when homeschooling depended on the reasons they chose homeschooling in the first place.
Respondents who cited concerns about the quality of current public schooling and those who cited affordability of quality education, said that their top three challenges were:
- Sourcing textbooks or an appropriate curriculum,
- Finding suitable socialisation activities, and
- Student motivation
However, 62.5% of the families with special needs children stated that their greatest challenge was gaining access to accurate (and appropriate) learning materials for their children.
What we’ve found from the study is that the majority of families elect homeschooling due to their desire to provide a superior education for their children.
COVID-19 had a smaller impact on the decision to homeschool, but 66.7% of those respondents who were forced into the alternative method of schooling due to the pandemic indicated that they would continue with homeschooling.
Most parents who switched from traditional schooling to homeschooling, and who tracked marks, noticed an improvement in their children’s grades.
Most families make use of a third party curriculum provider, using either one or opting to use a mix of curriculums to structure their child’s learning.
Parents who homeschool their children cite finding suitable socialisation opportunities for their children as one of the main challenges they face, though other studies have shown that homeschooled children tend to have above average social, emotional, and psychological development.