Laura Meckler and Peter Jamison at the Washington Post:
In March 2020, an involuntary form of home schooling — remote learning — was thrust upon American families everywhere. Millions could not wait to get their kids back to school, but for hundreds of thousands of others, the idea of teaching their kids at home was appealing. A surge in home schooling became one of the lasting impacts of the pandemic.Yet there has been scant reliable data on the magnitude of the growth or the nature of the new home-schoolers. As part of a year-long series, The Washington Post set out to understand who the new home-schoolers are, where they live, how many there are and why they made these choices.
This research has included more than 100 interviews and two groundbreaking data projects: the collection and analysis of six years of enrollment and home-schooling registration figures in nearly 7,000 school districts, and a national poll of home-school parents.
The results paint a picture of home schooling as the fastest growing part of the U.S. education system, embraced by families more diverse than ever before, who are engaged in new and different ways of home education from the home-schoolers who preceded them.
In the first year of the pandemic, home schooling surged. Although small declines followed in the next two years, the number of children in home schooling remained 45 percent higher in the 2022-23 academic year than it was in 2017-18, based on data collected by the Post.
In 18 states, The Post was able to compare the growth of home schooling to enrollment in public and private schools over six years. In those states, the number of home-school students rose 51 percent between 2017-18 and 2022-23 — far exceeding a 7 percent rise in private school enrollment and a 4 percent decline in public school enrollment. That makes home schooling the fastest growing form of education, by a lot