Homeschooling still on the rise as schools return to in-person learning

Homeschool enrollment increased nationwide last fall as families pursued alternative learning environments to their neighborhood public school. (In Minnesota, homeschool enrollment increased by over 10,000 students compared to fall 2019, or a 50 percent increase. Public school enrollment dropped by nearly 17,000 students.)

But even as schools are returning to in-person learning again, or at least a hybrid-learning model, parents across the country are still opting for homeschooling, reports Project Forever Free.

The reasons for this of course vary from family to family, but one contributing factor is parents’ realization that the traditional education system they have defaulted to for years isn’t working like they need it to. And parents are becoming more aware of what their children are — and aren’t — learning.

Parents had gotten so used to handing their children off to a system that wasn’t [and isn’t] doing right by families that when their hand was forced, parents realized not only could they do as good a job — but in some cases, even better than their local district.

[F]or a lot of parents, it was disappointing to find that their children were either behind grade level, bored, experiencing bullying, or even belittling by their teachers. The pandemic, if you will, was a bit of fresh air for families to repair what had been broken.

Parent Charmaine Williams, who has been using the National Black Home Educators curriculum to homeschool her two children, told the Associated Press that “the pandemic has been a blessing — an opportunity to take ownership of our children’s education.”

Mask mandates for the fall could also influence the number of families who turn to homeschooling or other alternative learning environments.

Thirteen states are requiring staff and students to wear masks in schools for the 2021 school year. Thirty states (including Minnesota) have left school mask decisions up to local authorities. Seven states — Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah — have banned school mask requirements.