Homeschooling On the Rise
AWE Staff Member
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many would be very skeptical just at the mention of homeschooling. They would wonder to themselves, “Why would you want to do that to yourself?”, “Children need to socialize with other children,” “Why, you pay sch
ool taxes?” and the list goes on and on. The naysayers were and are still out there and full of opinions. When schools shut down due to the pandemic, it introduced many families to the idea of homeschooling and virtual learning.
The number of children going to school at home nationwide has doubled over the past two years. In 2019, about 2.5 million students were learning at home, today there are nearly 5 million. That means more than 11 percent of American households are educating their children outside of traditional schools. Homeschooling is quickly growing in popularity among minorities. About 41% of homeschool families are non-white/non-Hispanic (i.e., not white/Anglo). It is estimated that over 9 million Americans will have experienced some sort of homeschooling in 2020.
The phenomenon is exploding across the country. In Vermont, homeschool applications are up 75 percent. And that’s in the Northeast, where regulations are strictest. In California, applications for homeschooling tripled from 2020 to 2021. In Alaska, more than
a quarter of students are now homeschooled, almost all of them are being taught at home. Parents are not required to notify the state in Texas and Florida, so it’s hard to know exactly how many children are learning at home. Just one South Florida school, Jupiter Farms Elementary, saw 10 percent of its student population withdraw for this school year.
So, why did parents across the country turn to homeschool during the pandemic? Parents tried remote learning options their schools provided and were disappointed by the process. They found that their children were not getting the support they needed or fell behind because of reduced standards or minimized hours of instruction. Many became frustrated dealing with childcare, returning to work, and the idea of children possibly going back to school. For peace of mind and the ability to create their own schedules, many of these families choose homeschooling to “get through” remote learning.
It’s clear that families seek solutions that will meet their health and safety needs, childcare needs, the educational and socio-emotional needs in an unprecedented environment. Regardless of the reason, many families began homeschooling as a temporary option,
thinking that they would send their children back to school in person when COVID numbers improved and or vaccinations became available for young children. However, once many of these families began homeschooling, they started to enjoy
nefits, and they have since decided to stay with this increasingly popular school-choice option.
Before the pandemic, many parents discussed the reasons for homeschooling. Below are just some of the more common reasons that families homeschool:
- Dissatisfaction with the public school system
- Support of special needs
- Military service
- Opportunities to travel
There are benefits of homeschooling, whether you were forced into homeschooling due to the pandemic or for other personal reasons.
Below are just a few of the benefits:
- Personalized Education Plans (PEP)
- Family Bonding
Homeschool market families, in general, find themselves to be on a tighter budget. Most homeschool families are a single income, with one parent staying home to teach the children. These families utilize their local libraries to provide resources in assisting their teaching and at-home learning. Libraries provide wonderful early learning literacy programs such as storytime, activities, and special children’s areas. Within those areas, you can find puzzles, books, parent resources, computers, and so much more. It makes coming to the library fun and exciting for all, especially homeschooled children.