Homeschoolers have much in common, but there are some basic differences, too. I've identified eight different types of homeschoolers (based on their reasons for homeschooling):
The Independent Homeschooler: These are the do-it-yourselfers. They have probably experimented with modern-day homesteading, or at least find the idea intriguing. They teach their children to garden, cook, and sew and they might have a flock of chickens in their back yard. "Homemade", "home grown" and even "home birth" are probably familiar terms to Independent Homeschoolers. "Home school" was the next logical step.
The Temporary Homeschooler: These families plan to return to the public school system as soon as a problem is resolved. They may have removed their student from the school system in order to help him "catch up". Perhaps they had issues with their child's teacher and intend to homeschool only for the current school year. Maybe the student has been suspended or expelled. Whatever the reason, homeschooling is undertaken only for a short time.
The Situational Homeschooler: People who fit into this category would usually choose the public school system, but are in a situation which makes that choice awkward or impossible. Sometimes a child's health status makes attending public school unwise. Parents whose jobs demand frequent moves often choose to homeschool to avoid subjecting their children to new schools on a regular basis. Missionaries and other workers might be living in a location where public schools aren't available. Child actors are Situational Homeschoolers, too.
The Social Homeschooler: As homeschooling becomes more common, this category of homeschooler is growing. Social Homeschoolers homeschool for the same reason the general public chooses public school: It's what everyone they know does. These people might be active in a church where homeschooling in the norm, or at least routinely accepted. For whatever reason, their circle of friends includes many homeschoolers, and it's comfortable to join the crowd.
The Activist Homeschooler: Activist Homeschoolers have a basic disagreement with the idea of public school. They often feel government should not be involved in education. Due to religious beliefs or their own moral standards, they take exception to some of the things taught in public school. Sometimes they simply believe a classroom structure is just not the most effective means of educating children. Homeschoolers in this category are likely to be active in church or political groups.
The Accidental Homeschooler: Accidental homeschoolers choose homeschooling as a response to difficulties in their student's public or private school. The child might be falling behind academically. The parents may have differences of opinion with school personnel. There are many reasons the hoped-for method of education might not work out. In this case, the parents often begin homeschooling having never considered it a serious option in the past.
The Phony Homeschooler: These people aren't really homeschoolers at all, but criminals who claim to be homeschooling to cover up their misdeeds. When stories about these "homeschoolers" hit the news, the reputation of "real" homeschoolers takes a hit. It pays to keep in mind that child abusers who masquerade as homeschoolers generally do not follow their state's homeschooling laws, do little or no actual "schooling", and are not representative of genuine homeschooling families.
The Just Plain Homeschooler: Most families who stick with homeschooling metamorphose into this type eventually. Homeschooling has become an accepted and normal part of their life. They rarely think about their reasons for homeschooling anymore. They're comfortable with the lifestyle, they no longer feel they need to defend their decision, and homeschooling doesn't occupy their thought process twenty-four hours a day.
Many people fall into more than one category. What type of homeschooler are you?