The pandemic has and continues to be one big mess but when it comes to student learning, there has been one surprising silver lining: homeschooling. The number of families homeschooling has more than doubled to 11% since the beginning of last school year. But what’s even more unexpected is that as schools across the country return to in-person learning or a hybrid-learning model, parents are still opting for homeschooling.
In a recent episode of Talk Dat Real Sh*t from our sister site, Citizen Ed, Conneticut-based parent advocate Gwen Samuels spoke to how the pandemic brought out an ability that parents didn’t even know they had. “The silver lining in this pandemic is that parents realized they were more capable than they thought,” Samuels said.
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.
Take for example, parent Charmaine Williams, who has been using the National Black Home Educators curriculum to homeschool her 10-year-old son, Justin, and her 6-year-old daughter, Janel. Williams and her husband told the Associated Press, “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.”
Since the pandemic, the 21-year-old organization—National Black Home Educators—has grown from 5,000 members to more than 35,000.
During the pandemic, many parents discovered what their children were and weren’t learning in school—and for 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.
Aside from desiring a curriculum reflective of culture, values, and faith, parents are opting for homeschooling for their children with special needs. Heather Pray of Phoenix, Maryland, told the Associated Press “even with just two hours of schoolwork a day [her] son did great.” She even taught her 7-year-old son who has autism how to read.
Across the spectrum, families are finding success in homeschooling and taking back control of their child’s learning. The uncertainty of COVID, in-person learning, hybrid, is being remedied by a growing number of families choosing home.