AP: Homeschooling Surges Across U.S.

More parents are homeschooling their children even as schools have been planning to reopen with in-person instruction since the pandemic, the Associated Press (AP) reported Monday.

According to the report, despite the varied reasons parents give for choosing to regularly homeschool their children, the “common denominator” is that school closures during the pandemic presented them with the opportunity to try it out, and they discovered it was beneficial to their children.

“That’s one of the silver linings of the pandemic — I don’t think we would have chosen to homeschool otherwise,” said Danielle King of Randolph, Vermont, whose 7-year-old daughter Zoë has a curriculum that has included literature, anatomy, and archaeology – supplemented by outdoor fossil searches.

AP cites data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which Breitbart News reported in early April, that found 11.1 percent of K-12 students in the nation are now homeschooling. That statistic represents a significant jump from the 5.4 percent who began homeschooling when schools closed throughout the country in the spring of 2020, and from the 3.3 percent who homeschooled prior to the pandemic.

Of particular note in the Census Bureau data is that homeschooling rates are surging among black families, in which the proportion of homeschooling increased from 3.3 percent in spring 2020 to 16.1 percent in fall 2020.

“The global COVID-19 pandemic has sparked new interest in homeschooling and the appeal of alternative school arrangements has suddenly exploded,” wrote Casey Eggleston and Jason Fields for the Census Bureau, which gathered data for an “experimental” Household Pulse Survey that measured the “social and economic impacts during the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Census Bureau clarified the survey distinguished between households that were “reporting true homeschooling rather than virtual learning through a public or private school.”

AP reported Arlena and Robert Brown of Austin, Texas, have opted to homeschool their four children using Catholic curriculum offered by Seton Home Study School.

“I didn’t want my kids to become a statistic and not meet their full potential,” said Robert Brown, a former teacher who is now a consultant. “And we wanted them to have very solid understanding of their faith.”

His wife, a former preschool teacher, said homeschooling has been a rewarding undertaking.

“In the beginning, the biggest challenge was to unschool ourselves and understand that homeschooling has so much freedom,” she said. “We can go as quickly or slowly as we need to.”

Charmaine Williams, a parent in the St. Louis area, said she is using the National Black Home Educators curriculum to homeschool Justin, age 10, and Janel, age 6.

After choosing homeschooling for Justin when school officials told Williams and her husband their son had behavioral issues, she said she feels more confident in making it a long-term learning mode.

“At school, children have to follow a certain pattern, and there’s bullying, belittling — compared to being home where they’re free to be themselves,” Williams said.

“There’s no turning back for us now,” she added. “The pandemic has been a blessing — an opportunity to take ownership of our children’s education.”

The surge in homeschooling comes as more states are making school choice legislation a priority. Since the pandemic, teachers’ unions have blocked the safe reopening of schools for in-person learning and, backed by the Biden administration, have embraced Critical Race Theory indoctrination for K-12 students.

“It is difficult to understate just how huge a year school choice has had in state legislatures across the nation,” Mike McShane, director of national research at EdChoice, noted at Forbes recently.

School choice legislation has been included just within the last month in the budgets of four states, a fact that is not surprising given its popularity among American parents and families.

The American Federation for Children (AFC) observed in April that 32 states “have introduced 36 bills to create or expand educational choice and we urge policymakers in these states to get these bills over the finish line on behalf of families and students.”

A RealClear Opinion Research Poll published in April found 71 percent of voters support school choice, an outcome AFC says represents “the highest level of support ever recorded from major AFC national polling with a sample size above 800 voters.”

When race and ethnicity were considered as factors, voters of all cultural backgrounds overwhelmingly supported school choice.

According to the poll, 73 percent of whites back school choice, as do 66 percent of blacks, 68 percent of Hispanics, and 66 percent of Asians.

The poll also found 65 percent support “parents having access to a portion of per-pupil funding to use for home, virtual, or private education if public schools don’t reopen full-time for in-person classes,” AFC noted.

Kerry McDonald, senior education fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), told Breitbart News recently she foresees a “sustained elevation of homeschooling numbers going forward,” primarily because parents’ views of directing their own children’s education have grown more positive.

“Just wait until communities open up,” she added, noting that when libraries, museums, and science centers are fully open again, homeschooling families will once again be able to take advantage of learning opportunities in their communities.

“Post lockdown I think parents will have an even more positive impression of homeschooling,” McDonald, the author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom, anticipated.

“I think over the past year, parents have certainly felt re-empowered to direct their children’s education in ways that were, you know, unimaginable before school closures and the pandemic response,” she explained.

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