Many families took one look at their school district’s remote or hybrid learning offerings this fall and said “no, thank you.” That’s the message gleaned from national and state-specific data on the surging number of homeschooled students this academic year.
Prior to the pandemic and related school closures last spring, there were just under two million homeschoolers in the US, representing about 3.4 percent of the total K-12 school-age population. According to recent polling by Education Week, that percentage has more than doubled to nine percent this fall, or nearly five million homeschoolers. This estimate mirrors related polling from Gallup in August suggesting that 10 percent of US students would be homeschooled this year.
State-level data show just how dramatic the surge in homeschooling has been, particularly in areas where many district schools continue to be closed for full-time, in-person learning. In Massachusetts, for example, the Boston Globe reported last week that 7,188 students statewide transferred from public schools into homeschooling this year, compared to only 802 homeschooling transfers last year.
In North Carolina, homeschooling filings nearly tripled, with over 10,000 parent forms submitted over the summer, compared to about 3,500 last year. In fact, so many parents in North Carolina completed their online intent to homeschool forms during the first week of July (when the system began accepting filings for this year), that it crashed the state’s nonpublic education website.
In New York City, homeschooling increased by nearly one-third this fall. More than 10,000 students withdrew from the city’s public schools this year for homeschooling, compared to about 2,500 student withdrawals last year. In Vermont, homeschooling applications were up 75 percent compared to last year, with similar patterns seen in neighboring New Hampshire. In Wisconsin, homeschooling filings more than doubled this year, and in Connecticut, more than six times as many students have left the public schools for homeschooling compared to last year.
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