COVID-19 shut down many businesses and institutions, including schools. Due to self-isolation and social distancing measures, parents had to switch to online distance learning or homeschooling. With thousands of public schools still closed, many students are struggling with their studies, particularly with their district’s online curriculum.
As a result, parents are turning to charter and private educational programs and experimenting with homeschooling. According to Education Week’s mid-October survey, 58 percent of school superintendents and principals consider homeschooling as a major factor in the falling employment rates. Over the summer, states that saw an increase in homeschooling included Texas, North Carolina, and Nebraska.
As the country continues to weather out the pandemic, more parents are willing to teach the children themselves, stocking up on books, school supplies, and even a builder set for kids. This investment is fruitful, after all. Homeschooling fosters the self-discipline, creativity and initiative that helps children succeed in college.
The homeschooling trend may reverse as soon as schools re-open. But the parents’ newfound preference for working from home combined with their dissatisfaction with the public education system could lead to an increase in homeschoolers. On the other hand, many public schools will lose a huge amount of money for every child that chooses to home school ($10,000 per year).
Public Schools Struggle During COVID-19
Education professionals report a grim picture of the pandemic’s effects on children across the globe. While the infection itself poses a risk to healthy young people, many students have suffered from elevated levels of depression and anxiety, which resulted in a learning loss.
The quick transition from in-person to online education left many students and parents dissatisfied. In the fall, student engagement faced an all-time low as many students were absent from their classes. And students struggling with their subjects in person struggled more online. During 2020, math test scores fell sharply since most students require regular guidance from their teachers.
As a result, many parents felt the need to take control over their children’s education. Many parents experienced learning from home for the first time during COVID-19. And many of them are finding homeschooling a better option for their children.
How the Pandemic Changed the Homeschooling Student Demographics
A Gallup survey revealed that interest in homeschooling doubled in 2020. As homeschooling becomes the new norm, the former stereotypes associated with homeschoolers no longer apply. Long tied to libertarian, conservative and religious circles, today’s home school community is more diversified than ever.
While many white parents choose to home-school their kids to customize their education, many Black parents have a different reason for homeschooling. A recent study revealed that Black mothers prefer to home school their kids due to racial discrimination. Apart from the racial unrest, Brown and Black individuals face a greater risk of complications due to COVID-19.
With more Black parents preferring to home school their children, students may continue to homeschool – even if schools are reopening.
Is Homeschooling a Form of College Prep?
Critics of homeschooling worry about the potential for child neglect and abuse, as well as concerns of testing requirements and state registration, which makes homeschool tracking a bit difficult. Still, many homeschoolers exhibit high academic achievement. This begs the question: can homeschooling help children prepare for college?
More customizable and flexible than traditional in-person schooling, homeschooling can help kids study their materials quickly. It also gives them more opportunities to develop new talents and study subjects that they find interesting.
This new form of schooling also presents an attractive alternative to incoming college freshmen. After all, studying at home promotes motivation, self-discipline, and self-initiative while helping students figure out what they want to pursue in college.
Finding Educational Balance During the Pandemic
Thanks to the ongoing vaccination projects, many students are returning to school while others prefer to still study at home. In most cases, students still practice a hybrid schedule that alternates between school and home. Regardless of whether your children are in or out of school, they are likely dealing with increased screen time, fatigue, stress, and more.
To support a virtual or hybrid learner, consider the following home-based learning tips:
- Use alarms and timers. Install timer apps on your phone or smart device to help structure activities.
- Create a quiet and structured workspace for your student. The space should be free from distractions, such as music or TV. Your child may want to hear noise-canceling headphones to improve their focus.
- Schedule breaks throughout the day. Give your students a break now and then, so they can rest their minds.
Your child can earn a high school diploma degree even if they are studying at home. If you prefer to home school your child, that’s OK. After all, homeschooling is part of the future.
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