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Homeschooling numbers rise during the pandemic

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 6:35 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Many students across the Tennessee Valley are preparing to log into laptops for their first assignments of the school year. Homeschool students are no different as they prepare to do this from the comfort of their own homes.

Experts report homeschooling numbers have risen during the pandemic, and local advocates said that number is just getting higher.

According to a survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau, homeschooling numbers increased during the pandemic. The number of households homeschooling doubled at the start of the 2020-2021 school year when compared to the year prior.

The US Census Bureau also reports the number held pretty steady until the pandemic sparked an interest in homeschooling. The survey broke the numbers down by state.

In Alabama, about 5% of households were homeschooled between April 23 and May 5, 2020, but between September 30 and October 12, 2020, that was about 12.1%.

Homeschool teacher Kristin Smith said they’ve seen a change here in the Tennessee Valley. but it’s something she even saw before the pandemic.

“I’ve always homeschooled so I didn’t pull my child out of school because of the pandemic, but I certainly understand why a parent would. I certainly understand the trepidation of sending your child back to school,” Smith said.

She elaborated that homeschooling gives parents flexibility.

“I get that, wanting to take your child’s not only their education but their future and their well being, you take that put it into your own hands. You don’t have to wait until Madison City comes out with its own ordinance, as a parent, you put all those ordinances on yourself,” she said.

Constance Gillon is the Director of HOPE Christian Academy, a church school with a home program. She said there are a lot of families that are concerned because their children are too young to get the vaccines or are immune-compromised, and some of them are turning to homeschool.

”For the last week, I’ve been on the phone constantly processing new enrollments,” Gillon said. “In the last year we’ve seen a 30-40% increase and we saw a 30% increase last year, and it appears to be even larger. The number of people who thought homeschooling was a little strange and a little weird they’ve tried it out.”

After trying home learning, Gillon said many have discovered they can do more work in less time.

“Their kids are getting the enrichment they’ve always craved. The parents feel more connected to the curriculum their children are learning. Parents have discovered this whole world of possibilities with their kids,” she said.

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