(DAILY YONDER) — Abraham Lincoln did it. And he did it very well. That is to say the 16th president of the United States pursued his early studies at home on the family farm, later applying his home-based learning in entrepreneurial pursuits and, most famously, in leadership.
Prior to the twentieth century and the rise of compulsory K-12 education, many prominent Americans learned their ABCs and 123s at home either through self-education or tutors. But while Lincoln and other presidents, scholars, tycoons, and scientists were “famous homeschoolers,” their stories shed little light on the experiences of modern homeschool families—especially those who live in rural areas during the Information Age.
In recent years, there’s been a discernible rise in the number of families returning to homeschooling. According to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), over 1.5 million children were estimated to have been homeschooled nationwide in 2007. Researcher Brian Ray gauged the number of American homeschoolers to be closer to 2 million in 2010, and other experts have suggested that NCES estimates are too low by at least 10%. Many such researchers believe that parents in states with compulsory school attendance laws may be teaching at home on the sly and that children in states with liberal policies regarding home education are not accurately tracked by state and school officials. Families in extremely isolated, rural areas may be underrepresented as well.
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