More Than a Fad: Why a Growing Number of Parents Are Opting to Homeschool Their Kids
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There's a boom happening in homeschooling in America. The number of children taught by their parents has doubled since COVID lockdowns began. This includes a significant spike in black families who have switched to home education for the first time.
When COVID-19 hit the US last year, public schools, much like other institutions, were forced to shut down.
Students and families struggled with remote learning. But now that classrooms are reopened some kids are still home and many parents have turned into teachers.
Krystle Lynch recently turned her Apopka, FL home into a classroom for her three boys. That also means teaching three grade levels, third, fifth, and high school.
"I didn't like what I was seeing with the numbers in Florida of course with the virus," Lynch told CBN News. "I felt that there was too much back and forth with the mask-wearing and no mask-wearing and things that were happening with that that I didn't really like in particular."
When schools went virtual, Lynch, a former teacher, helped her kids with their lessons. She soon discovered that it was easier to teach them at home while also protecting them from COVID and the debate surrounding it.
"I pulled them out," explained Lynch. "I could have put them in public school, virtual school. And I was like, 'No I'm not doing this. I'm not going to wait on anyone. I'm going to take it into our own hands.'"
According to US Census Bureau data, the pandemic has sparked new interest in homeschooling.
In 2019, about 2.5 million students learned at home. Today that number has doubled to nearly 5 million.
In California applications to homeschool tripled from 2020 to 2021.
And black households saw the largest boost with the rate rising from 3.3 percent in the spring of 2020 to 16.1 percent in the Fall, according to the National Home Education Research Institute.
'This is our very first-time homeschooling," explained Lynch. "I took a leap of faith, my husband and I, we looked at this program and said we're going to do this, and we believe God is saying that this is the time to do this."
"That's a huge increase," Brian Ray, President of the National Home Education Research Institute, said of the rise in homeschooling. "That's maybe 40 to 50 percent. That's about maybe more now than all of the Catholic schools and that's a pretty big system. It's rivaling charter schools now."
Virginia is part of the growing trend.
"We have gone from 44,000 homeschoolers to over 65,000 homeschoolers," said Yvonne Bunn, Director of Support at Home Educators Association of Virginia.
Bunn told CBN News says while COVID has played a role in the increase, other factors are also having an impact.
For example, more schools are adopting Critical Race Theory also known as CRT, an academic concept that teaches that racism exists everywhere in America.
"Of course, right now we're seeing a lot of reaction to Covid," said Bunn. And because of health reasons, parents are considering you know, sometimes it's the child is not able to wear a mask in school."
"CRT is also a factor. We have certainly seen a tremendous outcry from the community. They are not happy with this. And many minority homeschoolers, parents are not happy with this either."
Ray added that many want to shield their kids from other hot-button issues such as transgender policies in public schools. "Parents are realizing what you let flow over your child's heart and mind 6 hours per day absolutely has an effect," said Ray.
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Bunn said that leaders in the faith community are also searching for better educational options for families.
"We're also seeing pastors calling us and pastors are asking, 'How can we help our church families? How can we the people that are in our congregations do something about this?'" he said. "They want an alternative."
A common theme for a number of parents is that their kids performed well while homeschooling during the pandemic and they don't want to change that.
"Last year I think a lot of people tried homeschooling or they were doing government school at home and they realized wow we could do a lot of things in two or three hours that takes a public institutional school six hours to do," said Ray.
And the results are undeniable.
"Homeschool students score above eighty-three percentile in language arts and mathematics on Standardized achievement tests whereas public school students in a good year, not a COVID year, but a good year, only scored fifty percentile on these same tests," said Bunn.
Lynch says these are all reasons that prove homeschooling worthwhile.
"I can actually find out where they need help because there were some areas that I found out they hadn't made the gains they should have even though they were in private school. There are certain areas that I could work with them on," said Lynch.
Meanwhile, as the interest in homeschooling grows, Ray believes that it's more than just a fad.
"I think it's going to keep growing; the trend line for at least five years," said Ray.
"I would definitely probably continue this going forward, moving forward because the kids love it, I love it and we're seeing great gains from it," Lynch commented.
For more information and homeschool support, contact the National Home School Association.
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