As Latter-day Saints are to religion, homeschoolers are to education—a peculiar people. Yes? Not so much anymore. For Mormons' emergence into mainstream culture, we can thank Mitt Romney, David Archuleta, Napoleon Dynamite, and a host of others. But what about homeschoolers?
Homeschoolers are no strangers to stereotypes as well—think children running the streets barefoot, mothers teaching piano lessons all day, or curriculum that consists largely of gardening, field trips to local museums, and etiquette dances—to name a few. Well believe it or not, homeschooling is among the fastest growing education shifts in the country, including among Latter-day Saints. According to figures calculated using statistics from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) and the 2010 LDS Church Almanac, homeschooling is growing nationally at 9 percent annually and LDS homeschooling totals may be as high as 60,000 in the US alone, up from half that only 10 years ago. Why such significant growth?
Leland Anderson, the Director of Distance Education at American Heritage School, an LDS-oriented private school based in American Fork, Utah said, “Every home is a homeschool. Most LDS families don’t think of it that way, but we all homeschool in one form or another. Every week we speak with LDS families from around the world. We often hear them express their concerns about local curriculum and environment that directly oppose their family’s values and standards. More and more families are saying enough is enough and turning to alternatives including homeschooling.”
To answer this need, there are a growing number of options available that help LDS families take a primary role as educators in the home. American Heritage School’s latterdaylearning.org site is dedicated to providing such resources for new and existing LDS homeschool families who desire to integrate principles of their faith in strong academics.