Homeschooling is Doubling

Census Bureau Reports Doubling of Homeschooling.

By Larry Schweikart

A week ago, I wrote about the sharp shift in education toward homeschooling. David Nunnery, the CEO of one of the two major homeschool convention companies, “Teach Them Diligently,” had noted that his numbers were well ahead of those of the American Homeschool Association, which had homeschooling at about 2-3 million students, while he was showing a total closer to five million.

It looks like Nunnery is right. A just-released U.S. Census Bureau Pulse Survey showed substantial growth in homeschooling numbers over 2019. This was the first national data source to compare national and state numbers before and after the China Virus. The Census Bureau found that “home-schooling was notably higher than national benchmarks.”

It looks like Nunnery is right. A just-released U.S. Census Bureau Pulse Survey showed substantial growth in homeschooling numbers over 2019. This was the first national data source to compare national and state numbers before and after the China Virus. The Census Bureau found that “home-schooling was notably higher than national benchmarks.” At the outbreak of the China Virus, about 5.4% of all students were homeschooled, but by the fall of 2020, that percentage almost doubled to 11.1%.  The authors of the report noted that “an unprecedented environment” has forced families to find solutions outside the traditional public school systems.

Bigger Gains In Percentages

Indeed, the gains were across the board, in almost all demographics. Black households, in particular, saw a surge, from 3.3% to 16.1% over five months. Gains also appeared in what would think were unlikely places: Massachusetts saw an explosion around the Boston-Cambridge metro regions of 8%, going from .9 to 8.9%; some Texas areas witnessed increases of over 2,500%.

These results comport with continuing reports from the Homeschool Conventions. In Greenville, South Carolina, at the Great Homeschool Convention two weeks ago. Childrens’ fiction author, Jim Hodges, saw a never-ending stream of customers at his booth, saying it was his best convention in years. At the just-completed St. Charles/St. Louis Great Homeschool Convention, fiction author Brian Davis, whose books deal with heroes and dragons (and whose booth was next to my own), did a land-office business. He said it was his best convention ever.

As noted previously, while the numbers of actual vendors may be down some, the sales are not. And while not all typical homeschool vendors are at every convention, the number of colleges and universities (mostly smaller, virtually all private) has increased.

Underprivileged Students Will Have a Shot at a Good Education

Of course, the elite media whined that “Homeschooling during the Coronavirus will set back a generation of children,” while, in fact, the exact opposite is true. For the first time, a large segment of underprivileged and minority students will have a shot at a good education. Some 41% of homeschoolers were non-white, according to the National Home Education Research Institute. This, of course, terrifies liberals, who were counting the votes of uneducated “youths” to keep them in power over the next decade.

more prescient article came from The Atlantic in September 2020 when it warned, “The Pandemic has Parents Fleeing from Schools—Maybe Forever.” Ed Choice’s review found that since the China Virus Pandemic, favorability of homeschooling has trended upwards, from 55% favorable in March of 2020 to 63% a year later. But those “much more favorable have nearly doubled, from 26% to 43% over that year period. (Another poll by Real Clear Opinion Research found 77% of respondents “supported” homeschooling).  

Moreover, even those parents who planned to stay with public schools to some degree now preferred a mixture of in-person at-home and in-person at-school learning. This shows up in the declining registrations for public schools: -5% in Arizona and -4% in Massachusetts, for example, from the previous fall. Likewise, those who express satisfaction with how well their homeschool students are doing vs. others show a five-point edge for homeschoolers.

Mask Mandates Make Learning Difficult

And no small part of this has been the forced mask mandates and “distance learning” of the sub-qualified public schools. A Lincoln, Nebraska writer, Mindy Kresche, pulled out her students from public schools. “We just saw that with [their daughter] wearing a mask for the entire day would make learning difficult for her.” Well, duh.

It makes it difficult for everyone. Applications for homeschooling shot up in Nebraska by 21%, but in Vermont, as of August 2020, they were up a whopping 75%. And North Carolina was so overwhelmed with applications that the government website broke and was unable to accept new applications.

Right before the school year in 2020-21, the National Homeschool Association received over 3,400 requests for information per day. In short, so far, 2021 seems to be validating the assumption that the China Virus would mark a seminal moment in a shift to homeschooling. Certainly, all the population won’t or can’t make this transition, but to say homeschooling has come out of the shadows is an understatement.

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