Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Homeschooling--America's Fastest-Growing Form of Education

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

The Washington Post is admitting that "Homeschooling has become — by a wide margin — America’s fastest-growing form of education, as families from Upper Manhattan to Eastern Kentucky embrace a largely unregulated practice once confined to the ideological fringe." 

The Post's own polling results seem to have surprised them.

Be informed, not misled.

The Post says, "The analysis — based on data The Post collected for thousands of school districts across the country — reveals that a dramatic rise in homeschooling at the onset of the pandemic has largely sustained itself through the 2022-23 academic year, defying predictions that most families would return to schools that have dispensed with mask mandates and other covid-19 restrictions."

"The growth demonstrates home schooling’s arrival as a mainstay of the American educational system, with its impact — on society, on public schools and, above all, on hundreds of thousands of children now learning outside a conventional academic setting — only beginning to be felt," Bezos' newspaper says.

The Post article is lengthy, and part of it tries to support the choice of public education, but public education has become very difficult to defend.

This is an overview of  what the Post found in their polling:

  • In states with comparable enrollment figures, the number of home-schooled students increased 51 percent over the past six school years, far outpacing the 7 percent growth in private school enrollment. Public school enrollment dropped 4 percent in those states over the same period, a decline partly attributable to homeschooling.
  • Homeschooling’s surging popularity crosses every measurable line of politics, geography, and demographics. The number of home-schooled kids has increased 373 percent over the past six years in the small city of Anderson, S.C.; it also increased 358 percent in a school district in the Bronx.
  • In 390 districts included in The Post’s analysis, there was at least one home-schooled child for every 10 in public schools during the 2021-2022 academic year, the most recent for which district-level federal enrollment data are available. That’s roughly quadruple the number of districts with high rates in 2017-2018, signifying a sea change in how many communities educate their children and an urgent challenge for a public education system that faced dwindling enrollment even before the pandemic.
  • Despite claims that the homeschooling boom is a result of failing public schools, The Post found no correlation between school district quality, as measured by standardized test scores, and home-schooling growth. In fact, high-scoring districts had some of the biggest spikes in home schooling early in the pandemic, though by the fall of 2022, increases were similar regardless of school performance.

The Post found that:

Because they do not cover every state, the figures cannot provide a total count of the country’s home-schooled children. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in 2019 — before home schooling’s dramatic expansion — there were 1.5 million kids being home-schooled in the United States, the last official federal estimate.

Based on that figure and the growth since then in states that track home schooling, The Post estimates that there are now between 1.9 million and 2.7 million home-schooled children in the United States, depending on the rate of increase in areas without reliable data.

By comparison, there are fewer than 1.7 million in Catholic schools, according to the National Catholic Educational Association. About 3.7 million students attended charter schools in the fall of 2021, according to the most recent federal data.

Modern homeschooling no longer isolates the child.

One of the objections to homeschooling in the past was that it would socially isolate the child and their social development.

Not so anymore.

Parents pull around the circular driveway to drop their children off in the morning. Students climb the steps and hang their backpacks on hooks. Katy Rose greets her charges and sends them into a classroom festooned with artwork, where they open their laptops and begin working through math problems.

But Rose is not a teacher, and this is not a school. Every child here is a home-schooler.

Rose, a registered nurse, had never studied or worked in education before starting her own “microschool,” where her title is “guide” for students who study math and reading online and depend on her for many other subjects.

Her program is part of a company called Prenda, which last year served about 2,000 students across several states. It connects home-school families with microschool leaders who host students, often in their homes. It’s like Airbnb for education, says Prenda’s CEO, because its website allows customers — in this case, parents — to enter their criteria, search and make a match.

An explosion of new options, including Prenda, has transformed home schooling in America. Demand is surging: Hundreds of thousands of children have begun home schooling in the last three years, an unprecedented spike.  

The new world of home schooling often looks very different: pods, co-ops, microschools and hybrid schools, often outside the home, as well as real-time and recorded virtual instruction. For a growing number of students, education now exists somewhere on a continuum between school and home, in person and online, professional and amateur.

The parents are in full control of their child's education. And it's education---not indoctrination.

One thing has become very clear: Parents are fed up with public education having devolved to indoctrination centers.

The Seattle Times said this in September: "Seattle Public Schools is facing declining enrollment. Community meetings began last month about the district’s “vision for well-resourced schools,” though the district says these meetings won’t include discussing consolidating the district’s 106 school buildings. But closures are clearly on the table for the next school year."

"Declining enrollment is not a Seattle-only issue. It’s national. In nearly every state, public schools are projected to have fewer students by the end of the decade — even in states with fast-growing populations."

The Times, as the Washington Post notes, states that "fertility rates are falling in our country, and that "means fewer children."

That may be part of the reason public education is in decline---but it's not the main reason.

This past July 3, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said Americans must "acknowledge a troubling reality" about the U.S. on this Independence Day.

"America is experiencing a crisis of confidence. Only 38% of U.S. adults say that patriotism is important to them compared to 70% in 1998. A recently released poll found that only 39% of Americans were 'extremely proud' to be American -- the second-lowest number ever recorded. These trends should concern every American who cares about our country and its future."

Then she defined what she believes is the problem---saying the reason behind the decline in America should be no mystery.


Sen. Blackburn explains: 

"In many schools, education has been replaced with indoctrination, and the teaching of critical race theory and radical gender ideology has become pervasive," Blackburn said. "Almost 6,000 public schools around the country prevent faculty and staff from notifying a child's parents without the child's permission if the student decides to change his or her gender."

She said instead of teaching civics the "traditional way," many schools now teach "action civics," which she went on to describe as "a woke alternative" that encourages students to engage in protests related to "certain left-wing causes."

"Given the state of our education system, it should be no surprise that a mere 25% of students achieve the 'proficient' standard on the National Assessment of Educational Progress civics assessment. There are countless reasons why America serves as a beacon of freedom to nations around the world, but you can trace them all back to our most fundamental values."

The Bible is clear---"train up a child in the way he should go."

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Engaged. Be Blessed. Be Prayerful.