America is seeing a ‘major rise’ in homeschooling

“Homeschooling has become—by far—the fastest-growing form of education in America,” according to a new analysis by The Washington Post. (alternative URL here):

The analysis — based on data collected by The Post for thousands of school districts across the country — reveals that the surge in homeschooling at the start of the pandemic has largely maintained itself through the 2022-23 school year, defying expectations that most families would do so. Returning to schools that dispensed with mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions…

In states with similar enrollment numbers, the number of homeschooled students has increased 51% over the past six school years, far outpacing the 7% growth in private school enrollment. Public school enrollment declined 4% in those states over the same period, a decline attributed in part to homeschooling…

In 390 districts included in the newspaper’s analysis, at least one child was homeschooled for every 10 children in public schools during the 2021-2022 school year, the latest for which district-level federal enrollment data is available. This is nearly four times the number of districts with high rates in 2017-18, demonstrating a sea change in the number of communities educating their children and an urgent challenge to a public education system that faced declining enrollment even before the pandemic. The Center for Education Statistics reported that in 2019 — before the major expansion of homeschooling — there were 1.5 million children being homeschooled in the United States, the latest official federal estimate. Based on that number and the growth since then in homeschooling states, The Washington Post estimates that there are now between 1.9 million and 2.7 million children homeschooling in the United States, depending on the rate of increase in areas where reliable data does not exist. ..

It is a remarkable expansion of a form of education that 40 years ago was considered illegal in most parts of the country.
Other interesting facts from their analysis:

  • “Despite claims that the homeschool boom is a result of failing public schools, The Washington Post found no relationship between school district quality, as measured by standardized test scores, and the growth of homeschooling. In fact, districts with high scores had some of the largest increases in Homeschooling early in the pandemic, although increases were similar by fall 2022 regardless of school performance.
  • “Many of America’s new homeschooled children have entered a world where no government official will be able to verify what or how well they are being educated.”

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