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Homeschooling used to be for weirdos, Tim Tebow and reluctant kids barred from schools due to the pandemic. Now, at-home learning is becoming the new normal for millions of students whose families have made the choice to educate from their homes rather than submit their children to the restrictions and lack of instruction currently associated with traditional brick and mortar schools.
Homeschooling used to be for hippies and Christians.
Now? Now it’s everybody.
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) September 8, 2021
Per the National Home Education Research Institute, the number of kids learning at home has nearly doubled over the past two years from 2.5 million students to close to 5 million. Homeschool applications across the country are skyrocketing. Vermont’s applications are up 75%. California applications tripled from 2020 to 2021, and per Bari Weiss, a North Carolina website used to register students for home schooling crashed last summer.
So why are parents opting to homeschool their kids? A variety of reasons. In her Common Sense article, Weiss notes a mother’s concern with her child’s private school: She didn’t like all the restrictions her kids’ private school had implemented: Students seated six feet apart. Masked. In wedding tents. Outside.
Other parents feel as though they would be able to provide more instruction than schools. This became apparent when the pandemic forced millions of students to learn remotely. “My kindergartener was getting maybe twenty minutes of instruction per day,” a North Carolina parent told Weiss.
Virus fears and fast-paced learning also factor into the decision to turn a kitchen into a classroom. One mother living just outside of St. Louis briefed Weiss on her daughter’s homeschool success. Her seven-year-old is speeding through grammar, three-digit addition and vocabulary with the assistance of a home-based learning program. “She’s doing way more work than last year,” the mother said.
Homeschooling appears to be here for the long haul, and it doesn’t discriminate. According to a Washington Post story citing the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2019 and May 2021, home schooling rates rose nearly 7 percent for black and Hispanic students. White families increased their homeschooling by 4 percent, and there has also been an increase in Asian American students learning from home.
The statistics show that your next door neighbors who spends his work day stocking shelves, fixing cars or delivering boxes, might be moonlighting as a fourth grade teacher.