The COVID Pandemic has changed the way Americans view Public Education and after a year of forced school at home, parents have decided to keep their kids at home and homeschool.
“It’s no surprise the number of homeschool families swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the U.S. Census Bureau has released new data showing just how significant that growth has been.
Nationwide, the number of homeschoolers doubled in 2020. Between April 25 and May 5, 2020, the Census reported 5.4% of all U.S. households with school-age children were homeschooling. That leapt to 11.1% of households by fall. In North Carolina, the increase was from 5% to 9.4%,” The Carolina Journal reported.
Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin
Homeschooling rates are increasing across race groups and ethnicities.
In households where respondents identified as Black or African American , the proportion homeschooling increased by five times, from 3.3% (April 23-May 5) to 16.1% in the fall (Sept. 30-Oct. 12). The size of the increases for the other Race/Hispanic origin groups were not statistically different from one another.
“It’s clear that in an unprecedented environment, families are seeking solutions that will reliably meet their health and safety needs, their child care needs and the learning and socio-emotional needs of their children,” wrote Census researchers Casey Eggleston and Jason Fields.
Homeschooling is a legal instructional option in all 50 states and national homeschooling rates grew rapidly from 1999 to 2012 but had since remained steady at around 3.3%.
However, the global COVID-19 pandemic has sparked new interest in homeschooling and the appeal of alternative school arrangements has suddenly exploded.
So, how significantly have homeschooling rates increased during the pandemic?
The U.S. Census Bureau’s experimental Household Pulse Survey, the first data source to offer both a national and state-level look at the impact of COVID-19 on homeschooling rates, shows a substantial increase from last spring — when the pandemic took hold — to the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
Using a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. households, the survey shows homeschooling is notably higher than the national benchmarks and offers a glimpse of changes in homeschooling patterns during the pandemic.
We compare survey results from the spring of the 2019-20 school year to results in the fall of the 2020-21 school year to measure the pandemic’s impact on homeschooling.
Meeting Education, Health Needs
In the first week (April 23-May 5) of Phase 1 of the Household Pulse Survey, about 5.4% of U.S. households with school-aged children reported homeschooling .
By fall, 11.1% of households with school-age children reported homeschooling (Sept. 30-Oct. 12). A clarification was added to the school enrollment question to make sure households were reporting true homeschooling rather than virtual learning through a public or private school.
That change represents an increase of 5.6 percentage points and a doubling of U.S. households that were homeschooling at the start of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the prior year.
It’s clear that in an unprecedented environment, families are seeking solutions that will reliably meet their health and safety needs, their childcare needs and the learning and socio-emotional needs of their children.
From the much-discussed “pandemic pods,” (small groups of students gathering outside a formal school setting for in-person instruction) to a reported influx of parent inquiries about stand-alone virtual schools, private schools and homeschooling organizations, American parents are increasingly open to options beyond the neighborhood school.
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Author: Kari Donovan
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