Homeschooling will boom long after COVID-19
Last updated 1/5/2022 at 11:12am
Public school student enrollment has nosedived as parental disgust with school COVID-19 policies, student learning losses and controversial curricula has gone through the roof.
In the wake of this enrollment implosion, homeschooling has boomed across the country. At the beginning of the current school year, the U.S. Department of Education estimated that 1.5 million students had left the public schools since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
If students are not enrolling in public schools, where are they going? The numbers show that many former public school students are now being homeschooled.
The U.S. Census Bureau found that the percentage of homeschooling households more than doubled nationwide in 2020 from 5% in spring to 11% in the fall.
According to a recent University of Michigan study, from 2020 to 2021, the enrollment at public schools in Michigan fell by nearly 46,000 students, more than a 3% drop. Among kindergartners, there was a decrease of more than 11%.
The increase in homeschoolers does not come from just a narrow segment of the American population. A University of Washington-Bothell analysis found, "The diversity of homeschoolers in the U.S. mirrors the diversity of all students nationally," including all racial, religious, political and income groups.
For instance, the Census Bureau found that among black American households the increase in homeschooling was much steeper than in the country as a whole, rising from 3% to 16%, a five-fold jump.
This increase in black homeschooling is not surprising given recent research by McKinsey and Co. that found "students in majority black schools ended the [2020-21 school] year with six months of unfinished learning."
Demetria Zinga, one of the country's top black homeschool YouTubers, says, "I believe homeschooling is growing and exploding amongst African Americans and there will be more and more homeschoolers."
Homeschool mom Magda Gomez, an immigrant from Mexico, has become an activist for homeschooling in the Hispanic community.
"We Hispanics as a culture are usually very protective and loving towards our children,” she said. “However, I explain that love is not enough to raise our children. We have to educate ourselves in different areas [of education], especially since we are not in our [native] country but are immigrants.
"It is my dream to see more Hispanic families doing homeschool."
Her dream is coming true with homeschooling doubling among Hispanic households, from 6% to 12%.
In addition to the racial diversity of homeschoolers, in 2021 the school-choice organization EdChoice found: "Many parents of children with autism, ADHD, and other neuro-developmental disorders report that public schools cannot effectively address their child's specialized learning needs."
Pediatric nurse and homeschool mom Jackie Nunes un-enrolled her special-needs daughter from public school.
"There just wasn't enough of the things that matter – time, attention, patience, persistence, passion, support."
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed all the flaws in the one-size-fits-all public schools, which is why the homeschool boom is shaking up American education.
– Lance Izumi is senior director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute.