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Homeschooling Is Rapidly Growing In Some States As Parents Seek Alternative Options

Norms have changed over the past half-decade, and parents have more choices than ever before.

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Homeschooling has been shifting for decades, with families choosing the option for various reasons. Families have moved to homeschooling due to the quality of local schools, curriculum issues, or even due to physical or learning disabilities that local schools seem unable or unwilling to accommodate adequately.

However, it has never been an option for all households.

Parents’ work schedules, state laws controlling how homeschooling can be done, parent and child temperaments, and a parent’s comfort with academic materials are among the hurdles that have prevented some families from ever considering homeschooling an option.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed so much in the United States and globally, including how people work, learn, and live.

More workers than ever can skip the commute and stay home. An entire generation of kids got their first experiences with learning from home, whether through traditional homeschooling or via distance learning with a public school teacher. Many families found themselves rearranging how school and work looked for them.

The number of families who learned that education at home could be an option for them is only one factor. Parents have also seen shifts in how their public schools work, from book bans to teacher shortages to new safety rules.

The result? Homeschooling is on the rise.

It’s happening faster in some states than others. Texas, for instance, is seeing a homeschooling boom, according to Newsweek, more than doubling its homeschool enrollment from 2023 to 2024. It’s being attributed in part to families moving from other states and choosing not to enroll their kids in Texas public schools.

Texas isn’t alone, though. Last year, Reason reported that New York and Washington D.C. had also seen homeschooling increases of more than 100%, with California seeing an increase of around 78%.

In fact, across the nation, the number of kids being homeschooled is more than 50% higher than pre-pandemic numbers, according to a Washington Post analysis. These numbers may even be lower than an accurate count since some states don’t require notification when a parent chooses to homeschool their kids. The estimate is that between 1.9 million and 2.7 million kids are being homeschooled in the United States today.

Also, while homeschooling was once associated with certain ideological views, its current growth appears to be consistent across religion, political affiliation, race, and income levels.

So far, it seems to be working — at least, on average, homeschooled kids are showing higher scores on standardized tests. One report in Psychology Today found that on average, they are also achieving higher GPAs, better college readiness, and greater social and emotional intelligence.

They may also show lower stress levels away from bullying and peer pressure and a greater love of learning, thanks to more freedom to focus on personal interests.

Homeschooled kids are also joining a growing number of co-ops, online courses and groups, and other organizations and options to keep them involved with their communities while not joining their peers in a standardized education classroom every day.

Meanwhile, public schools are struggling with funding, teacher shortages, book bans, curriculum battles, and other difficulties that make public education, while a necessary part of society’s function, an increasingly fraught and controversial situation.

COVID-19 may have set this change in motion or at least been a catalyst for picking up the pace, but families are embracing new options, and there’s no sign that the increase in homeschooling will end anytime soon.

Written by Steph Bazzle

Steph is a mom of 7, with over a decade of homeschooling experience, as well as experience with premature birth and NICU. She's juggled feeding tubes and oxygen tanks, multiple toddlers at once, as well as parenting teenagers.

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