Schools across the country are gearing up to welcoming students back to their campuses, but not everyone is making their way back into physical classrooms. In fact, a significant number of parents have opted to homeschool their kids in the face of COVID lockdowns, which brought about some unexpected benefits.
According to CBN News, a number of parents have found that after opting to homeschool their kids, the children have shown better performance than when they physically went to school. The rate of parents opting to homeschool their kids has risen significantly, and Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) director of homeschool support and government affairs Yvonne Bunn said that they've had to hire additional staff to address the influx of questions from homeschooling parents.
Bunn shared that parents opting to homeschool their kids have been "extremely engaged," diligently attending webinars and seminars and calling in their "questions about how to start homeschooling, how to comply with the law, and where to get the curriculum." The HEAV director added that in the state of Virginia alone, there was a 48% increase in homeschoolers from 2020, with 65,000 homeschoolers now versus 44,000 the year prior.
"Lots of parents have done this and say their child has done so much better or they're not being bullied," Bunn said. She added that parents who work from home are also looking to continue to homeschool their kids this year, saying that parents are "not happy with what's going on," with the continued spread of COVID, changing CDC rules and mask mandates, and a government that has been pressuring its citizens to get the vaccine.
"We've been amazed by the number who want to continue to work from home so they can continue to teach their children," Bunn said, admitting that even parents who work are now opting to homeschool their kids this year.
The COVID pandemic pushed students to learn from home due to school shutdowns, homeschool is entirely different from learning from home. According to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, homeschooling increased by 50% during the COVID pandemic, with a sharp increase among Black families opting to homeschool for the first time.
The spike was first recorded in March and by September 2020, there was an 11% increase in the rate of families homeschooling their children. This was double the 5.4% rate just six months prior.
In terms of households by ethnicity, Black families had the largest spike with homeschooling, increasing from 3.3% in the spring of 2020 to 16. in the fall season. National Black Home Educators co-founder and program director Joyce Burges admitted that before the pandemic, the organization had almost 5,000 members, and now has more than 35,000. While some parents initially faced challenges, they now have a more optimistic outlook on homeschooling.
Some parents are opting to homeschool their kids this year also because either their children have special needs or because they want their kids to have a Christian curriculum. Given the current turbulent COVID situation, the increase in homeschool rates is expected to continue to rise as the school year opens in August.