Interest in homeschooling grows as schools close

The closure of schools across the nation in response to the coronavirus could be a boon to the homeschooling movement. Breitbart News reported many school districts are not prepared to move to fully online learning models, prompting an increasing interest on social media in homeschooling. Michael Donnelly, staff attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), told Breitbart News “people are going to be confronted with a question, because education in a school may have to stop just because of the coronavirus.” He noted homeschooling has been the mode of educating many children for decades. “It’s a great way for children to learn, to receive an education that’s tailored to their individual learning needs, and that provides a very safe, flexible environment that’s nurturing and supportive,” he said. For parents faced with a school closure, HSLDA has a “quick start” guide and an accompanying video with seven steps to help them explore homeschooling as an option for their children. “We don’t know what this pandemic is going to look like. But it may end up changing people’s behavior,” Donnelly said. “As people have the opportunity to figure out education with their children, in a homeschooling context, some people, I think, are going to say, ‘You know this isn’t so bad; in fact, this is kind of good and I think we’re going to keep doing this,'” he said. Donnelly expects that some day many will “point back to the coronavirus pandemic as the time when they started homeschooling and they started their homeschooling journey.” Neal McCluskey, director of Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, noted that the at-home learning many will engage in as a result of school closures will be driven by the schools rather than the parents. But it could lead to a shift in perspective. “I wouldn’t be surprised if, after lots of initial difficulties, you start to see people say, ‘You know what? There’s actually a lot of benefits to receiving education in the home,'” he said. “Then you may see not just an expansion of online public schooling, which again is what most of this will be, but people seeking more homeschooling that is separated from their public school,” said McCluskey. “And so, it could be the sort of disruption that introduces people to a way of receiving education that they hadn’t really thought of before, they thought was just too weird. And it may make it more mainstream.” Veteran Wisconsin homeschooler Tina Hollenbeck, the owner of The Homeschool Resource Roadmap and The Christian Homeschool Oasis, told Breitbart News she has noticed an increase in current homeschoolers recommending home education. “So, homeschoolers are, in a sense, ‘mobilizing’ to help others begin to homeschool if interest does increase,” she said. She said it must be made clear that “real homeschooling is its own distinct legal entity under state law and that it does not involve getting ‘free’ resources or ‘stipends’ from the government.” “We must be very vigilant to insist that the legal distinctions are not blurred so that bureaucrats do not use this situation to try justifying added regulation on actual homeschoolers,” said Hollenbeck. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, homeschoolers doubled between 1999 and 2012, from 850,000 to 1.8 million children, or 3.4% of school-aged children. A group advocating parental rather than government education, U.S. Parents Involved in Education, developed in response to the federally incentivized Common Core State Standards. In a statement to Breitbart News, the group noted the coronavirus is only the latest issue that has fueled homeschooling. Others are “increased bullying of children; mandated, developmentally inappropriate content, including pornography in Comprehensive Sexuality Education programs; LGBTQ+ policies that are confusing and detrimental to mental and physical health; (and) mandated vaccines.” “Parents will find there are more options than they could imagine, specifically tailored for homeschoolers,” USPIE said.

Given what’s going on, homeschooling is definitely a trend we expect will go up.  And, there are now many more resources to support those who want to get involved.  Plus, as the article correctly points out, many parents are not happy with what many public schools are including in their curriculum, which in many cases includes a lot of liberal, politically correct nonsense that isn’t appropriate for kids.

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