Pandemic’s Homeschool Boom Sustains Growth After Lockdowns

Pandemic’s Homeschool Boom Sustains Growth After Lockdowns

A mother helps her daughter with her schoolwork at home in San Anselmo, Calif., on March 18, 2020. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

11/7/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Homeschooling saw a dramatic rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a recent analysis shows that the practice has largely sustained its growth throughout the 2022-23 school year.
Based on data gathered by the Washington Post from 32 states and in Washington, D.C., the number of homeschooling families in 2022-23 was 51 percent higher than in 2017–18.
Meanwhile, the analysis reported that public school enrollment dropped by four percent and private school enrollment rose by seven percent over the same time period.
Washington, D.C., saw the largest spike in homeschool enrollment, increasing by 108 percent from 2017–18 to 2022–23.
The next states where the growth of homeschool families was highest included: New York, with a 103 percent increase; South Dakota and Rhode Island, both up 94 percent; California, up 78 percent; and Tennessee, up 74 percent.
The analysis could only include data from 390 school districts in 32 states across the country because 11 states—including Texas, Michigan, Connecticut and Illinois—don’t require notification when families decide to homeschool their children, and seven more states’ data of homeschool families was deemed unreliable, according to the Washington Post.
Children do schoolwork at home with their mother in San Anselmo, Calif., on March 18, 2020. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Children do schoolwork at home with their mother in San Anselmo, Calif., on March 18, 2020. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

However, the data it gathered represented 60 percent of the nation’s school-age population.
New York City, the U.S.’ largest school district, saw a 229 percent increase over the same time period.
The nation’s second-largest school district and California’s largest, Los Angeles Unified, saw an 89 percent increase in the number of homeschool students, the Washington Post reported. Data were unavailable for the U.S.’ third-largest district of Chicago, but its fourth-largest, Miami-Dade, saw a 95 percent increase.
In the districts included in the analysis, there was at least one homeschooled student for every 10 in public schools during the 2021–2022 academic year—about four times the number compared to the 2017–2018 school year.
The National Center for Education Statistics’ last report on the subject found that there were 1.5 million children being homeschooled in 2019, prior to the pandemic.
Based on that report and on their own analysis, the Washington Post estimates there are now between 1.9 million and 2.7 million homeschooled students in the U.S.
The Post also reported that the increase in homeschooling transcended demographic, population, district quality, and academic performance, with some of the highest percentage increases coming from high-performing districts.
However, the news outlet found “no correlation between school district quality, as measured by standardized test scores, and home-schooling growth.”
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

Author

Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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