The rate of homeschooled children in the United States has doubled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of the 2019/2020 school year, according to a new homeschool survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, with the most notable change being a five-fold increase among black families.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, homeschool families found they experienced little change in their day-to-day life, but there was much speculation that the ranks of the nation’s committed home educators would soon be greatly increased.
Well, many suspected that because children were being forced to stay at home and spend the entire day staring at a Zoom session, parents would opt to try homeschooling as an alternative until school went back into regular session. But they also suspected that as these parents experienced the same freedom and opportunity to tailor a child’s education to their unique needs or a family’s cherished personal values that veteran home educators already enjoyed, they would want to keep going with it.
It appears this was, indeed, the case.
The data from the experimental Household Pulse Survey, the first data source to examine the pandemic’s impact on homeschooling rates on both a national and state level, indicates that as many parents were forced to take charge of their child’s education at home, they found that it suited them.
The Associated Press spoke with many families for an in-depth follow-up to determine what was driving the increase in homeschooling. “The specific reasons vary widely,” the article noted. Some families “have children with special educational needs; others seek a faith-based curriculum or say their local schools are flawed. The common denominator: They tried homeschooling on what they thought was a temporary basis and found it beneficial to their children.”
Some families also said they found that they were better able to integrate their deeply-held religious beliefs into their children’s education, while others found the opportunity to choose curricula that was specifically suited to their unique needs or interests. This was especially true for black families, with National Black Home Educators — a faith-based homeschooling organization that works to help parents simultaneously provide an individualized and high-quality education for their children and also foster a stronger parent-child bond — reporting to the AP that its membership grew from 5,000 members before the pandemic to 35,000 by the spring of 2021.
Indeed, it is the rise of black homeschool families that is most certainly the most notable data point collected by the Census survey, yet it should come as no surprise since advocates of the school choice movement have long been drawing attention to the fact that black parents strongly desire alternative forms of education for their children.
This is not often a grievance cited by the professed “anti-racists” on the left. After all, they tend to support the teachers’ unions, who vocally defend the divisive and controversial Critical Race Theory ideology while also vehemently opposing any policy that would allow students of color to have the choice to pursue home, charter, or private schooling.
These same entities promote the idea that racism is systemic in our country, yet vehemently advocate for black students to remain in the public school systems through which their union sustains its existence.
There is no doubt that Americans of many backgrounds and even political persuasions would agree that each individual child in this nation is precious and unique and deserves the opportunity to receive an education that is best suited for their needs, their family’s values, and their personal identity.
Who better to design this educational environment for a child than the people who cherish them the most — their loving parents?