According to a new report from the US Department of Education (discussed by USA Today here), 1.5 million US children are now being homeschooled. This is up from less than a million in 1999, and puts the homeschooling rate at just shy of 3%. The homeschooling rate is much higher among college-educated parents; indeed, nearly 7% of college-educated parents now homeschool their children. Also, though American incomes haven't risen very much since 1999, homeschooling is now more popular among higher-income families. In 1999, 63.6% of homeschooling families earned less than $50,000 per year; now this figure is only 40%, with 60% earning more than $50,000.
That last stat is interesting to me because it's generally been assumed that homeschooling families are 1-income households, with one parent forgoing a paying job in order to teach. Naturally, 1-income households are going to be lower income than 2-income households, even if the breadwinner is highly likely to be college educated. But I suspect that the rise of "free agency" (self-employment, contract work, small business ownership, etc.) is enabling at least some 2-income households to homeschool. After all, if dad does freelance graphic design, for instance, he can work at his home office while a child is taking an online geometry course in the next room. I wrote about this issue some for USA Today last fall (with several Gifted Exchange reader families participating). In other words, free agent parents are deciding to educate free agent children!
Since homeschooling is quite common among families with gifted children, I think it's good to see it rising, overall, as a potential option. When more families consider this option, school districts wind up developing processes that make it easier for everyone (and there tend to be more support groups as well).