The coronavirus shutdown seems to be encouraging homeschooling at record rates. That’s no surprise, of course, given the dramatic daily news coverage over coronavirus. But it may well be that some parents who may have otherwise not considered homeschooling suddenly feel more comfortable.
In Texas, homeschool numbers are surging. Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) reported that 15 times the usual number of families withdrew their children and will opt for homeschooling. THSC compared it’s July 2019 online app withdrawal numbers to this July’s in order to come up with the statistic. The tool helps parents create an opt-out letter and declare their children for homeschooling.
To give you a better idea of how drastic this number is, let’s look at a THSC press release which puts it fully on display. In July of 2019, the app created 201 opt-out letters. In July of 2020, amidst an ongoing economic and school shutdown, that number ballooned to 3,114 withdrawals.
“This is almost as many withdrawals as were processed in the 2019 calendar year, and this number represents only a portion of the total withdrawals statewide,” THSC said, adding that data from the Texas Education Agency shows homeschool withdrawals “have increased seven percent annually on average over the last 20 years” in the state.
There seem to be two main reasons for Texas’ massive increase in homeschooling numbers, as well as around the nation. One, of course, is fear over coronavirus related health issues. That’s no surprise. But the second reason, which is likely the dominant justification for increased homeschooling efforts, is that parents don’t trust stability in the system. If one person at the school test positive, does the entire school close, hence, derailing a parent’s work schedule? Another underlying reason supporting both of the aforementioned reasons is likely that parents are figuring out they are capable of homeschooling their children. In some ways, they may be figuring out they can gear courses specifically for their child’s needs. And the days are shorter seeing there aren’t near the distractions found in typical schools.
Education Week reported that, as of Wednesday, “73% of the 100 largest school districts, have chosen remote learning only as their back-to-school instructional model, affecting over 8 million students.”
A new Gallup poll also shows a substantial increase in parents who intend to homeschool for the entire year nationally.
The government has never been overly supportive of homeschooling. Many public schools leverage socio-political education/agendas in classrooms. With fewer kids in classrooms, that’s less messaging reach. But with teachers all over the United States protesting in-school education and the government’s continued support of shutdown measures, it’s easy to see their leverage being lost. And many parents are either taking advantage or finding homeschooling less complicated than they’d previously imagined.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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