By May, at the risk of violating state truancy laws, Wrobel had stopped fighting and let her kids log on (or not) whenever they felt like it. It was, she said, “the darkest hour before dawn.”
That September, she started homeschooling. She didn’t like all the restrictions her kids’ private school had implemented: Students seated six feet apart. Masked. In wedding tents. Outside.
She figured she’d send her kids back to the school in 2021, after everything had gone back to normal.
That was then. Now? “There’d have to be a revolution in schooling.”
She’s hardly alone. Wrobel is one of hundreds of thousands of moms and dads across the nation who have decided to become the principals of their very own, very small elementary schools.
The number of kids going to school at home nationwide has doubled over the past two years. In 2019, there were about 2.5 million students learning at home. Today there are nearly 5 million. That means more than 11 percent of American households are educating their children outside of traditional schools.
In Wrobel’s state of Vermont, homeschool applications are up 75 percent. And that’s in the northeast, where regulations are strictest. The phenomenon is exploding across the country. In North Carolina, the site for registering homeschools crashed last summer. In California, applications for homeschooling tripled from 2020 to 2021. In Alaska, more than a quarter of students in the state are now homeschooled.
In Texas and Florida, parents are not required to notify the state, so it’s hard to know exactly how many kids are learning at home. But just one South Florida school, Jupiter Farms Elementary, saw 10 percent of its student population withdraw for this school year. Almost all of them are being taught at home.
The American Schoolhouse was in serious disrepair before 2020 — about that no one would disagree. But the events of last year tore the whole thing down to the studs. First, the pandemic. Then, the lockdowns. Then the summer of unrest: George Floyd, the protests, the riots, the mea culpas. Many local school boards seemed more concerned about teaching critical race theory and renaming schools than reopening them. Parents didn’t know what to do — what was safe, what was right, whom to trust. It was like being inside a tornado.
These were changes that rocked every American family. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the homeschooling trend cuts across geographic, political, and racial lines: Black, Latino and Asian families are even likelier than white ones to educate their children at home.
All of this is undermining the old, Democratic-educational complex — the powerful teacher unions and the office-holders beholden to those unions — that has long maintained an iron-clad grip on tens of thousands of schools and the fate of tens of millions of American students. And it is forcing a long overdue reimagining of the way we educate children: the subjects they study, the values instilled in them, and the economy for which they are being prepared. Read more»
Suzi Weiss | “American Homeschooling Goes Boom” | Common Sense With Bari Weiss | Sep 7, 2021
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