In early 2020, before the pandemic began to spread across the U.S., about 4% of K to 12 aged children in the U.S. were homeschooled (National Home Education Research Institute/NHERI). https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/ NHERI specifically notes that “There are about 2.5 million homeschool students in grades K-12 in the United States (or 3% to 3% of school-age children). ….. It appears that the homeschool population is continuing to grow at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past few years.” During the pandemic, around 30 million children in the US have been affected by school closures. Nearly all of these students are currently experiencing some form of school-at-home programming. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-closes-school-for-nearly-30-million-children-in-u-s-11584356400)
At this moment in time, support for a variety of home-schooling models is growing based on the fact that the 1920-2921 school year will see a high percentage of all public schools moving to full-time school-at-home or to hybrid models that will include a heavy emphasis on students studying from home. To again quote NEHRI, “Many more families are weighing the [home school] option for the fall, either frustrated with remote learning through their public school or nervous about the health risks of sending their children into buildings with others.”
When the U.S. Congress passes the current stimulus funding bill, there should be adequate funding included to provide a healthy boost to homeschooling. Home school student counts are based on the most recently available U.S. Census counts. In addition, number reporting runs about a year behind the calendar. Consequently, the most recent numbers currently available are for the school year 2017-2018. With a new federal census about to get underway, home school enrollment numbers for 2019-2020 should be available by the end of the school year 2020-2021. News outlets report that “with the backing of President Trump and Republicans in Congress, homeschooling could get the biggest boost it’s ever gotten from the federal government in the next round of stimulus funding.” (For more information about the stimulus bill and funding for education, go to https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-20/economists-say-at-least-1-trillion-is-needed-to-avert-disaster.)
WILL MORE PARENTS CHOOSE HOMESCHOOLING?
The following national polling information indicates a possibility that the number of families choosing to homeschool will increase after the COVID-19 pandemic burns out: “In April the American Federation for Children, a national school choice group that was formerly chaired by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsey DeVos, commissioned a poll (https://www.federationforchildren.org/national-poll-40-of-families-more-likely-to-homeschool-after-lockdowns-end/) and found that 40% of families were more likely to consider homeschooling even after the end of the lockdown. Tommy Schultz, the group’s vice president, says the results were initially met with skepticism: ‘Some people were saying, well, those numbers are inflated and it’s too early to tell,’” but in late May a separate Ipsos/USA Today poll found 60% of parents were considering homeschooling in the fall and 30% were ‘very likely’ to make the switch.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2020/05/26/coronavirus-schools-teachers-poll-ipsos-parents-fall-online/5254729002/)
THE FUTURE OF HOMESCHOOLING
A 7/23/2020 Bloomberg Businessweek article supports the idea that there will be an upsurge in the number of families moving to homeschool after the COVID-19 emergency is over. “Other experts think the overlap we’re now seeing between remote schooling and home education will likely persist after the pandemic ends. Travis Pillow is the editorial director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research center based at the University of Washington Bothell. ‘The twin financial and public-health pressures of COVID appear to be accelerating the blurring of the lines between public education and homeschooling that was already picking up steam before the pandemic,’ he says.” (https://www.msn.com/en-us/new/politics/stuck-at-home-parents-want-more-support-for-home-schooling/ar-BB172CW9 )
HOMESCHOOLING QUESTIONS ANSWERED
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