Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


Foundations of Education

First Advisor

James C Carper


This research presents a demographic portrait of the homeschooling community and families in South Carolina through a 22 question survey administered during the 2010-2011 school year to 751 homeschooling families. It is the first study of its kind conducted in the state since 1992, as well as the largest survey sample to date of South Carolina homeschoolers. The data include 1,584 homeschool students, approximately 10% of all South Carolina homeschoolers, with members of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) as well as numerous third-option associations throughout the state responding to the survey. Homeschooling families responding to the survey are overwhelmingly intact, two-parent families (97.4%) and are double the size of the typical South Carolina family, averaging 5.04 members with 3.09 children, with the mother as homemaker (69.8%) often acting as principle educator in the home. A majority of responding families (61.3%) report an annual household income in excess of $60,000, substantially higher than the median household income of $44,695 for South Carolina in 2008. The vast majority of respondents were religious (98.6%), white (95%), and Republican (75.4%), all to a greater degree than their national counterparts. Most responding families opposed future enrollment in a public (72.6%) or private (61.6%) school, though many do express an a la carte interest in particular programs offered by local public schools, including athletics, band, choir and orchestra. Responding parents were highly educated, successfully completing high school (98%), a bachelor's degree (39.5%), a master's degree (18.0%), or a doctoral degree (4.6%), with rates of academic achievement comparable to homeschooling parents nationwide. Motivations for homeschooling varied but were typically based upon positive perspectives of the benefits of homeschooling, rather than negative perceptions of public or private schools. This is comparable with homeschooling families nationwide, whose reasons for homeschooling, while diverse, are often framed positively.


© 2012, John A Gustafson