Homeschool survey: Outside opportunities

homeschoolers survey

What Type of Outside Opportunities Do We Use to Benefit Our Homeschools?

2016-2017 High School Marketing & Writing Class Marketing Project:

Team Members: * Gracen Bell *Rebekah Bennett *Kalyn Denney *Olivia Everett *Sophie Everett *Jack Frisbie *Noah Hoskins *Ashley Jacobsen *Andrew Kent *Connor McDonald *Joe Meyers *Andrew Reasor *Charles Spaedy *Nicholas Volz *Catherine Volz *Garrett Webster *Kallen Webster *Teacher: Mrs. Michele Volz

This marketing report was formulated from surveying 270 homeschool families in the Kansas City metro area over the months of November and December 2016. As the homeschool population increases in our community year to year, the number of outside opportunities has grown. Our class researched the categories of these opportunities and divided them into educational classes, extracurricular activities and social groups. The educational classes are classes that can be taken outside the family homeschool from other teachers. For the extracurricular activities, we looked at opportunities with sports, music, & arts. To define social groups, the students structured the survey to include social groups and associations. They also calculated statistical numbers in the categories of number of children per family, ages, and the total years of homeschooling.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of homeschool students has greatly escalated. In 2003, there were an estimated 1.1 million students (1,096,000) being homeschooled. Four years later, in 2007, there were an estimated 1.5 million students (1,508,000) being homeschooled in the United States. This is an increase of 2.2 percent in 2003 to 2.9 percent in 2007. Additionally, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number increased in 2015 to 1,770,000 homeschool students in the United States.

From the same statistics, the U. S. Department found that the homeschooled students fell into these age groups:

Elementary 44%                       Middle School 26%               High School 30%

As a result of the survey statistics from our team, we found similar statistics of the age groups:

Elementary  45%             Middle School 29%               High School 26%

Of the homeschool families surveyed, over 42% of the families have been homeschooling for more than 10 years. Over 19% of families have homeschooled for over 16 years. These numbers of years of experience showed that homeschool parents have good insight and knowledge of balancing a healthy homeschool environment. Also, there are 36% of the families that are from new to homeschooling up to 5 years. The average number of children being homeschooled per homeschool family surveyed was the 3-5 children category. The breakdown of ages is the following:

1-2 children   31%           3-5 children    48%           6-8 children    17%          9+ children    4%

From the data, the following categories showed the ages of these homeschooled students.

Ages 0-5    84%                 Ages 6-8    91%                Ages 9-13    86%               Ages 14-19    55%

Educational classes

We found that the majority of all subjects were taught at home, but many families sought out certain subjects for an outside the home teacher/class. Out of all the families surveyed, 31% of the families did not participate in outside the home educational classes. For the educational classes taught outside the home, they were fairly consistent with all three age groups.

Elementary     35%             Middle School       36%                         High School   38%

The most frequent classes taught outside the home scored into the following three categories of writing/literature, science and foreign language.

  • Writing & Literature Classes     37%
  • Science Classes             32%
  • Foreign Language Classes    27%

While 20% of the families took outside math classes, 17% of the families took the subject of history as an outside class. The other category for classes not listed ranked at 24%. This percentage included on-line homeschool classes, library classes, and enrichment classes. For the other subject category, families seek religion classes for an outside class as well as PE/health and computer.

The next category surveyed was to find out if the families attend any educational groups such as co-ops, college classes or other venues. Sixty-one percent of the total families surveyed attend a co-op for educational classes. While 23% of the families used the opportunity to take college/dual credit classes, 33% sought individual outside classes from teachers in the homeschool community. In the survey, 17% of families did not seek these opportunities.

Extra-curricular activities

The academic analysis provided a clear mirror as to what the priorities are in seeking outside classes to complement homeschool curriculum. Extra-curricular opportunities showed popular choices in sports, music and the arts. Participation in sports programs was the most popular in the elementary ages. However, in all three age groups, the same sports choices were consistent. Sports participation for elementary ages was 59%. Middle school ages showed 43% participation, which was a decline of 6% from past survey years. The high school ages showed 28% participation, which was also a decline of 6% from the past survey years. Sports participation is an excellent example of the high commitment level of homeschool families.

Out of the 270 families surveyed, 81% are participating in organized sports. Listed by popularity, homeschoolers took part in soccer, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, cross country/track, football, volleyball and a few other sports categories. The following data reflects this listing:

Soccer     38%     Basketball    35%     Baseball    28%     Gymnastics    23%     Track 18%

Football  14%      Volleyball    13%     Other         33%

The other category represented a large majority of families interested in swimming and competitive swim teams. The second highest sport in the other category was martial arts including karate, Tae Kwon Do and other martial arts. Dance was the next highest in the other category. It was evident that sports involvement declined as a result of the students’ increase in academic progress. The high percentage of elementary ages involved in sports programs was impressive for good exercise levels and opportunities to be involved in team and individual sports activities.

Additionally, our survey strongly indicated that music opportunities were an important element in homeschool students’ lives. The following statistics show this evidence. Music lessons for elementary ages were 42%, middle school ages were 33% and high school ages were 27%. Of those surveyed, 31% played an instrument, 28% participated in a choir and 8% belonged to an orchestra. For the solo instruments, piano was the instrument that ranked the highest, followed by the violin and then the guitar.

Our survey indicated that participation in extra-curricular activities is a vital part of the lives of homeschool students. Extra-curricular activities ranked very high for all three age groups with lesser percentages as the students became older.

Elementary Ages      60%     Middle School Ages    47%    High School Ages    34%

Furthermore, the survey of the extra-curricular activities produced results in a variety categories. The following activities and percentages are shown below: (surveys asked for a list of social activities)

Top Social Activities

  1. Art Classes/Clubs         44%
  2. Dance Clubs             34%
  3. Drama/Theatre         33%
  4. Scouts/American Heritage Girls 29%
  5. Robotics             10%
  6. Debate              5%

The amount of various extra-curricular activities is impressive. For a resource, several are listed below:

*4H, YMCA Adventure Guides, Trail Life USA, Little Flowers, Rangers Boys Club, Blue Knights, Lego Group, Quiz Bowl, Sewing Club, Pottery Club, Park & Recreation, Speech & Debate, Jr. Toastmaster’s Club, Precision Drill Team Horse Riding, Pro-Life Group, Journalism Club, Little Saints, Organic Gardening Club, Bright Lights, Awana, Science Olympiad, St. Joseph Radio, volunteer work, Destination Imagination Team, Shakespeare Club, Book Club & Civil Air Patrol

As the homeschool opportunities increased outside the home, the homeschool families surveyed selectively chose these extra-curricular activities to help the growth of their students.

The following percentages represent the group of homeschool families that had their children regularly attend a faith-based youth group.

Yes, Elementary Ages   29%      Yes, Middle School Ages   35%      Yes, High School Ages   40%

The percentage of families that don’t participate in youth groups is 37%. For high school ages, there was a high increase of church activity for social with the youth groups and pro-life groups. This is a great percentage to see this age group actively involved in their church environment.

Academic schedule

Lastly, the final question was to ask how the families set up their academic schedule. This was a very interesting category because there was a large percent of families that school year round. Including the other section category because this section noted various year round schedules, 38% of the families homeschool year round. Several families listed their year round schedule plans. We are listing these below.

*32 weeks (6 weeks on & 1 off)  *3 weeks on/one week off  *Saturday school  *4 days a week

In summary, the trends from the surveys show continued positive signs for homeschooling. With high percentages of 10+ years homeschooling and even 16+ years homeschooling categories, this indicates a strong group of veteran homeschool families playing an intricate role in the metro homeschool community. Also, this verifies the commitment levels and the success that homeschooling is yielding. From the last decade of surveys, the number of children being homeschooled in the families greatly increased from 1-2 children to 3-5 children.

Conclusion

It is evident in the statistics that more students participated in academic activities as they increased in age level. Also, a new trend (23%) is the dual credit/college classes that the homeschool high school students are seeking. Over time, this could increase the number of students homeschooling high school because of its great benefits. The elementary ages and the middle school ages showed very high percentages of sports participation, while over half of homeschool students surveyed (60%) participated in musical lessons/groups. With the social activities, the data showed great efforts made by the parents of elementary ages and middle school ages for organized co-ops and field trip groups. For the high school ages, youth group involvement incorporated over 40% of the homeschool students.

With continued homeschool growth in our community, it is a very positive sign to see the opportunities that are available to enhance the learning at home. It is also very encouraging to see the high percentages of families gaining these benefits. As a team, we extend our thanks to all the families that participated in the survey section of our marketing project.

This post has been edited to enhance readability in blog post format.

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