Tim Tebow is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world. The record-setting quarterback won the Heisman trophy and two national championships with the Florida Gators before making a brief splash in the NFL, playing professional baseball, and now attempting a comeback in the NFL at a new position. Notably, Tebow was homeschooled for the entirety of his K-12 education.
In a segment for Good Morning America, ESPN broadcaster Jessica Mendoza, who homeschools her own children, sat down with Tebow to discuss the subject. When asked why parents are attracted to this educational model, Tebow said:
I think it’s because the mom and dad don’t want to hand their kids over wholesale to public or private schools to do most of the teaching and the educating. I think that there’s a lot of schools … that do an amazing job, but I think at the same time there’s so many more parents that are saying, ‘We want to have a part in that.’
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the number of homeschooled students doubled from 1999 to 2012. According to the Census Bureau, numbers doubled again during the 2020-21 academic year, largely due to the pandemic. While 2021-22 numbers remain to be seen, parents around the country are certainly showing new interest in alternatives to public education, including homeschooling.
Tebow says his own parents wanted to include more than just academics in his and his siblings’ education:
They wanted us to learn reading, writing and arithmetic, but it wasn’t No. 1. It wasn’t the most important thing. They wanted to instill love in our hearts, love for God, love for one another. They wanted us to be able to learn a work ethic, a dedication.
As an adult, Tebow has continued to be involved in the movement, encouraging homeschooled students to embrace the fact that they are different:
You can be homeschooled and you can be the cool kid, and you can break the trends and you can show that, yeah, you’re different, you’re unique, but in a good way.