Commentary: Dear Policymakers, Homeschooling Is Here to Stay

Homeschooling is here to stay and the time has come for policymakers to acknowledge that fact. After years of increasing at a rate of about 3 percent a year, the number of parents choosing to homeschool their children has spiked, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the portion of children being homeschooled doubled from 5.4 percent during the 2019-20 school year to 11 percent in 2020-21. Among Black families, homeschooling jumped nearly five-fold during that time, from 3.3 percent to 16.1 percent.

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Commentary: Homeschooling Numbers Are Skyrocketing in Some Parts of the Country

The numbers are startling. More parents are pulling their children out of school for homeschooling this fall, prompted in large part by school mask policies and ongoing virus concerns.

The homeschooling rate in the US doubled in 2020, and tripled from its pre-pandemic level, as parents sought other options when confronted with prolonged school closures.

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Commentary: Homeschooling Is an Option for Parents Who Don’t Like Back-to-School Mask Mandates

School districts across the country are beginning to impose mask mandates for all students and staff this fall. Officials in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, DC declared last week that everyone in school buildings will be required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

These school districts are going beyond current CDC guidelines, which recommend masking for unvaccinated students and staff only. Instead, they seem to be embracing the masking stance of the American Academy of Pediatrics which announced last week that all students over age two, as well as staff, should wear masks at school even if they are vaccinated.

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Commentary: Four Signs Parents Won’t Be Sending Their Kids Back to Public School This Fall

Student working on school work at home.

As disruptive as the 2020/2021 academic year was, it led to many positive educational changes that will be transformative and long-lasting. Most notably, parents have been re-empowered to take back the reins of their children’s education from government bureaucrats and teachers unions. Frustrated by school closures and district “Zoom schooling,” families fled public schools in droves over the past year, and there are several signs that these families won’t be returning this fall.

According to an analysis by Chalkbeat and the Associated Press, public school enrollment fell by an average of 2.6 percent across 41 states last fall, with states such as Michigan, Maine, Vermont, and Mississippi dropping by more than 4 percent. These enrollment declines far exceeded any anticipated demographic changes that might typically alter public school enrollment.

How many of these students will be back in a public school classroom next year? Not as many as public school officials hoped.

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Commentary: New Census Data Show Homeschooling Tripled During the Pandemic—And One Key Group Is Driving the Surge

My daughter had a friend over this week whose parents just took her out of public school for homeschooling, and my neighbor recently unenrolled her child from public school to homeschool for the rest of the academic year. These families are much more than local anecdotes—they are representative of a national trend.

New Census Bureau data show that 11.1 percent of K-12 students are now being independently homeschooled. This is a large uptick from 5.4 percent at the start of the school shutdowns last spring, and 3.3 percent in the years preceding the pandemic.

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Commentary: The True Impact of Virtual Learning on our Families and our Future

This morning, my son, a high school senior doing virtual learning, texted me, “I didn’t get out of bed for first period.” I replied, “Yikes!” To which he shot back, “It’s okay, I just did the class from bed.”

This cannot be a thing! Kids should not be going to school from their beds!

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Governor Northam Launches a New African American History Course

Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday a new elective course for Virginia high school students on African American history.

The course will be offered in 16 Virginia school divisions during the 2020-2021 academic year, including Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Prince William County, Charlottesville, among others.

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Commentary: Gallup Poll Shows Homeschooling Rate Doubles as School Satisfaction Plummets

Results of a new Gallup poll released this week may give us the sharpest look yet at how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted American education and what may lie ahead. According to the poll, parents’ overall satisfaction with their child’s education dropped 10 percent over last year, while at the same time the number of parents saying they will choose homeschooling doubled in 2020 to 10 percent.

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COVID-19-Era Public School Models Are Driving Increased Interest in Homeschooling

Virginia parents are increasingly interested in homeschooling due to fear of COVID-19 and frustration over new public school models. Organizations ranging from the state-level Home Educators Association of Virginia to local Facebook groups are providing advice, resources and counseling.

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Commentary: ‘Pandemic Pods’ Make Homeschooling Easier for Parents and Profitable for Teachers

This tumultuous back-to-school season has parents and teachers alike scrambling to make sense of the madness: from ever-changing district directives to COVID-19 response protocols. Some school systems have announced that the academic year will start with remote-learning-only. Others are pursuing partial reopening options with both online and in-person instruction. Still others are planning to fully reopen for in-person learning.

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