I have home schooled since 5th grade, with a one-year break in 9th grade when I attended a private Christian school. I wrote this research paper at the end of the 2017-2018 school year to conclude my 12th grade English class. The paper has been edited to make it more blog-friendly.

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While for the first half of the 20th century American students primarily enrolled in public schools, in the 1960s and 1970s homeschooling re-emerged alongside the countercultural movement as more families rose up against the violence and conflict surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. In more recent decades, homeschooling has shifted from the leftist New-Agers to the conservative Christians.

As more and more parents choose to educate their children at home – the population jumping, according to the U.S. Department of Education, from 50,000 in 1985 to 850,000 in 1999 to 1.1 million in 2003 – researchers and educators have taken to more closely monitoring and measuring the impacts and implications of this growing movement (Basham 9).

Families have legitimate political, social, and academic reasons for switching from traditional education to home education. Preliminary studies on the movement suggest that homeschooling has moral benefits, and that homeschooled students have advantages over public school peers in learning.

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Homeschooling, at its most basic sense, is education conferred upon a student primarily at home and usually administrated by a parent. The term encompasses both structured homeschooling and unstructured homeschooling, also called unschooling.

In structured homeschooling, students use a defined curriculum, while in unstructured homeschooling students learn without external dictates. For example, while a structured homeschooler may use a textbook with lesson plans for science, an unstructured homeschooler might learn about the chemistry of baking powder in cookies and call it science.

Institutions competing with home school include public and private schools. Public schools are government- and publicly-funded institutions that offer education to the children of the community without direct cost to the parent. Private schools, by contrast, have no government or public funds, and rely on funding from a private organization and/or on annual tuition from each student. They work independently of the state.

Various studies and researches conducted on homeschooling primarily contrast it with these two alternative school institutions.