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Community Characteristics of Homeschooling

The Case of Virginia

Luke Miller

May 2014, English

In this paper, Luke C. Miller addresses homeschooling, a form of school choice that has been increasing rapidly and in which students now outnumber those attending charter schools. Using school division-level data in Virginia (districts are called divisions in that state), Miller sought to answer four questions:

  1. What are the homeschooling trends in Virginia?
  2. What types of communities more strongly prefer homeschooling?
  3. In what types of communities is enrollment in homeschooling relative to enrollment in public schooling growing the fastest?
  4. What community and school characteristics impact preferences for homeschooling?

Miller compared his statistical compilations and regression results with earlier studies of homeschooling in Kentucky and Wisconsin.

Homeschooling in Virginia increased almost 14 percent per year from 1995 to 2012, when homeschoolers accounted for 2.5 percent of all home school and public school students. Middle school students and students from rural communities are more likely to be homeschooled than other students in Virginia. Homeschooling is more common and growing faster in more politically conservative communities there. These findings reinforce previous research on homeschooling in Kentucky and Wisconsin.

This paper was presented at the Lincoln Institute’s annual Land Policy Conference in 2013 and is Chapter 14 of the book Education, Land, and Location.