Homeschooling Still at All-Time High Despite School Reopenings

Although most school systems in the United States have mostly reopened following the coronavirus pandemic, the number of students now being homeschooled still remains high.

As reported by Fox News, data from 18 different states shows that the number of students enrolled in homeschooling shot up by 63 percent in the 2020-2021 academic year, then fell by only 17 percent in the following year. Despite the slight decrease, the total number of homeschooled students nevertheless remains well above pre-pandemic totals; prior to the pandemic, only about 3.3 percent of American students, roughly 2 million total, were homeschooled.

Additional data from the U.S. Census notes that the largest increase in homeschooling based on specific demographics was among black students, who rose from 3.3 percent to 16.1 percent from spring to fall of 2020, an increase of nearly 5 times. All other major ethnic groups saw their homeschool numbers rise to at least twice as much as previous levels.

A number of factors contributed to the rise in homeschooling, first based around the pandemic conditions themselves and then due to the aftermath. With the initial onset of the pandemic in early 2020, virtually all schools completely shut down for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year; some remained closed even at the start of the 2020-2021 year.

But most schools attempted to shift to remote learning, with students logging in on computers and simply watching classes on Skype, Zoom, and other video programs, which proved extremely ineffective and led to a massive decrease in students’ proficiency and exam scores. Subsequently, some schools attempted a “hybrid” model of partial in-person learning and continued remote learning, which was similarly ineffective. In some cases such as Chicago, teachers’ unions attempted to use the drastic circumstances to essentially hold the childrens’ education hostage, demanding more benefits unrelated to the pandemic in exchange for returning to work.

Furthermore, the increased use of remote learning led to many parents discovering for themselves some of the controversial material that was being taught to their children, often without their knowledge or consent, including the far-left concepts of Critical Race Theory and transgenderism.

Thus, parents who sought both more control over their students’ learning schedule and the content of the lessons turned to homeschooling, which led to their students performing far better than those who remained in chaotic public schools throughout the rest of the pandemic.

One example is Linda McCarthy, a mother of two in Buffalo, New York, who switched her children to homeschooling and now intends to keep them there for the remainder of their education.

“There’s no more homework ’til the wee hours of the morning,” McCarthy said in an interview, “no more tears because we couldn’t get things done.” Now, she says, her children are able to learn at a pace that suits their schedules and learning styles.

McCarthy also commented on how homeschooling her children, who are in the fifth and seventh grades, has not only improved their academic performance but has also kept them from being indoctrinated by controversial subjects.

“There are kids that don’t know basic English structure, but they want to push other things on children, and it can be blatant. But it can be, and mostly is, very subtle, very, very subtle,” McCarthy noted.  “So we were ready to pull them and will never send them back to traditional school. It’s just not a fit for us.. It’s just a whole new world that is a much better world for us.”

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.