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The Bottom Line Why Homeschooling is Growing

Originally published at Washington Examiner

A rapidly growing number of families are opting to educate their children at home, and both parents and children are finding great satisfaction in the experience. Increasingly, homeschool parents are stepping up to equip their children with the learning skills and academic knowledge to help them make informed decisions.

COVID-19 has been one driver; the number of homeschool students has tripled since the start of the pandemic. By the fall of 2021, 11.1 percent of students in the United States were homeschooled, and the number has continued to climb. With the prevalence of homeschooling, parents are no longer navigating the homeschool journey alone. They have homeschooling friends and neighbors to rely on, as well as co-ops, online curricula, and endless no-cost learning resources.

Not too long ago, homeschool families were considered by some as weird, and the quality of the education was questioned. Today, on the other hand, it’s impossible to ignore that homeschooled children, on average, far outperform their traditional public school peers in terms of academic skills development and knowledge acquisition.

While many thought the spike in homeschool numbers could dwindle once schools reopened for in-person learning, that has not proven the case. With the planning for the 2022-2023 school year in full swing, public school districts can’t count on a return of the lost students. In many cases, regardless of the reasons, these students are gone for good. And many others may join them after the 2021-2022 school year comes to a close.

COVID-19 was not the only factor that drove families away from public schools. Parents were especially delighted to have their children escape the far-left political indoctrination that dominates today’s K-12 public education classrooms (the daily promotion of the LGBT agenda, critical race theory divisiveness, and woke academics). Their children have been freed from the political agenda of teachers’ unions and school personnel using them as pawns in their power plays.

One example of this indoctrination is the increasing use of the Gender Unicorn as a tool to encourage students as young as age 5 to select their gender identity, their gender expression, the gender they are physically attracted to, and the gender they are emotionally attracted to, whether women/men, feminine/masculine, or other.

The decline of academic standards was another concern. Advanced classes and gifted and talented programs face removal in the name of “equity” — squashing enthusiasm and denying high performers the opportunity to reach their full learning potential. Furthermore, graduation requirements are lessened — again in the name of equity. But what value is a high school diploma if fundamental learning is not accomplished? Today, more than 71 percent of students lack basic academic proficiency at the end of their K-12 school years.

The benefits of parents exercising their right to decide what their children learn are profound. Parents are witnessing firsthand their children newly motivated, curious, and excited about learning.

Keri D. Ingraham

Children’s safety was another major issue. In the name of racial equity, discipline is now discriminatory, and the result is increasingly unsafe schools. Even more alarming, children and teenagers are forced to share a bathroom or a locker room with students of the opposite sex who declare a gender identity in conflict with their biological sex. Loudoun County, Virginia, is one of many examples of sexual assaults on minors by peers on their school campus during the school day.

But parents pulling their children from government schools was also prompted by the public education system’s inadequate and outdated school structure. As one parent shared: “Now that I’ve started homeschooling my kindergarten daughter, I can’t imagine sending my younger son to traditional public school, confined to sitting at a desk six hours a day when he turns five.”

How has the experience been for the new homeschooling families? The conversation strikes a familiar theme for parent after parent: “I never thought I’d homeschool my kids. I didn’t think I could do it. Now I can’t imagine not homeschooling my kids.”

The transition to homeschooling is not without its challenges, of course. But benefits of parents exercising their right to decide what their children learn are profound. Parents are witnessing firsthand their children newly motivated, curious, and excited about learning. The recovery of family time is an additional advantage.

The bottom line is this: Pushed out of public schools, more and more families are reaping the benefits of homeschooling. While homeschooling is not for everybody, more families than ever before are finding homeschooling a game-changer for their children and teenagers. There is no doubt that the increase of this attractive education option is here to stay.

Are you concerned about educating the next generation?
The American Center for Transforming Education is a program of Discovery Institute, a non-profit organization fueled by its supporters. Will you help us advance the timely and vital work of transforming our K-12 education system so that it better serves students and their families?