The number of families homeschooling is above 3 million, according to estimates released this month by the National Home Education Research Institute.
Researchers used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, an Education Next national survey, and 14 states to determine that some 3.14 million K-12 students were homeschooled in the 2021-2022 school year.
“This is a decline of about 16 percent from the preceding year,” writes Dr. Brian Ray, “but still much higher than two years prior.”
Parents also are choosing to withdraw their children from public school after the school year begins, which means that homeschool numbers may increase throughout the year.
Tara Carter, a mom in Texas, is homeschooling three of her four children after withdrawing them during the school year from their public school.
“I didn’t like some of the things they were learning in public school,” Carter said in a Fox News article. “There is too much bias.”
Reasons for choosing to homeschool
Fifty percent of parents surveyed in 2020 said their primary reason to homeschool involved providing a safe environment for their children, according to a report by ThinkImpact.com.
Other reasons included the need for individual attention, academic reputation and the size of classes.
More recently, classroom politics and discussions on morality have surfaced as reasons why parents choose to homeschool. For example, Carter said she discovered her children’s kindergarten peers on the school bus were discussing topics such as gender identity and sexual orientation.
“They were learning … wildly inappropriate sexual things, gender-related things and preferences, and they were coming home and stating things about that,” she said. “I was blown away that kindergartners were speaking like that.”
The surge in homeschooling is attracting families across all demographics, including those in the Hispanic, Asian and Black communities.
Jania Otey, founder and executive director of Kids and Culture Camp in Washington, D.C., said she chose to homeschool “to provide a safe, engaging, healthy environment for our children.”
“We wanted them to be able to grasp a concept quickly or a subject matter,” Otey said in an interview with ABC News. “We wanted to be able to move them on and build upon those things and not stay into one subject.”
Regional homeschool associations have seen an increase in interest, and are adapting their services as a result.
For example, Midwest Parent Educators in the Kansas City area will host a mid-year “how to homeschool” webinar on Oct. 25. Topics will include meeting legal requirements, creating a daily homeschool schedule, teaching multiple grades and choosing a curriculum to meet each child’s specific needs.
As for Carter, she said her youngest child is learning much faster at home than her twins did in public kindergarten.
“Nobody can love and educate your children as well as you,” she said. “You know how they learn, and you know how to love them best.”