Homeschooling: From 'fringe' to growing favorite

Homeschooling: From 'fringe' to growing favorite

Homeschooling: From 'fringe' to growing favorite

An advocacy group for homeschooling contends that a recent media "deep dive" into home-based education in the U.S. greatly underestimates the number of children whose parents have chosen that option for them.

As many parents continue to deal with their children being indoctrinated and exposed to immoral content in America's public school system, homeschooling remains the fastest-growing form of education. Multiple reports have come out since The Washington Post released data a few weeks ago reporting that homeschooling rates had jumped by just over 50% since the 2017-2018 academic year.

Homeschooling became much more popular during the COVID lockdowns, when the homeschooling rate reached 63%. Will Estrada, senior counsel with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), tells AFN the rates are down some after the COVID high – but not by much. "It absolutely still is the case," he affirms.

According to Estrada, homeschooling has been steadily growing over the years – and he credits the Washington Post report for giving the best numbers reported so far.

Estrada, Will (HSLDA) Estrada

"They did a deep dive into the number of homeschoolers, and they said it's doubled; and in some states [that] it's tripled," he points out. Per the Post's report, an estimated 1.9 million to 2.7 million students are being homeschooled in the U.S.

"The interesting thing is, I think their numbers actually undercount homeschoolers," Estrada continues. "Our estimates at [HSLDA] are anywhere from four to six million children who, in the United States, currently are being educated by their parents at home."

While he acknowledges it does require added effort by parents, Estrada explains there are many advantages to homeschooling – but if there's a primary benefit why parents are choosing that route, he says it's because they're able to choose what is best for their child. And parents can also tailor their learning to fit the particular needs of their children.

"We can take the schooling out to museums, we can go outside – we can really have education happen anywhere where we are," he adds. And with the holidays and family travels coming up, he suggests homeschooling parents consider stopping somewhere along the way to take in historic buildings or locations.

But not everyone sees a silver lining in the growing number of families opting for home-based education. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, posted an Axios article on social media entitled: "What's behind the increase in homeschooling." Pushback followed, criticizing her for ignoring it is AFT-backed policies in the education system that likely account for that very increase.