The phenomena of modern homeschooling emerged as a significant educational practice during the 1980s – most prolifically in the United States but across the globe as well – and experienced dramatic growth during the 1990s and 2000s. Parents choose homeschooling for a variety of reasons, and these motivations are typically reflected in the shape and content of the learning experience they provide for their children. Some homeschool environments resemble conventional classrooms relocated to the kitchen table, complete with structured scope-and-sequence curricula, scheduled timeframes for different subjects, and homemade transcripts with letter grades. Conversely, the practice of ‘unschooling’ gives substantial or complete freedom to children to determine the focus and contours of their education.

Regulations and oversight of homeschooling vary widely across countries and often within them as well. This variation makes comprehensive data collection and assessment of homeschooler outcomes – both academic and otherwise – virtually impossible.

Curricular resources and extracurricular opportunities for homeschoolers abound, available to match any motivation and pedagogical method. Beyond purchasing curricula from publishers, parents can access materials online, through local learning cooperative homeschool groups, formal homeschool umbrella organizations, and even some public school districts seeking to support and partner with homeschool families.

Curricular options for homeschoolers have grown as their numbers have expanded; the multitude of resources, combined with the inherent flexibility of homeschooling as a practice, has led to an increasing hybridization of forms. Homeschoolers can spend part of their time working online, part at home, part in local groups, and part taking classes at a nearby conventional school. They might move among these options at different times, or mix and match all at once. This hybridization has contributed to a blurring of distinctions among homeschooling, virtual schooling, and conventional schooling, as well as distinctions between public and private.