WACO, Texas — According to the Texas Education Agency, the number of students withdrawing from public school for homeschooling is up 40 percent.
Tara Carter is a Madisonville mother of four who decided to homeschool her three youngest this school year.
"I was very nervous when I decided to do it," Carter said. "I was like am I capable of teaching my children?"
Carter told 25 News it'd been a great experience. She said she gets to spend more time with her children and it's helping them learn faster.
"We've been doing it basically since school started so about three weeks or so. My kindergartener is already reading," Carter said. "She went from not reading at all when we started to now reading beginner books already."
Carter's family is just one of the many who recently made the change.
The Texas Home School Coalition said they've seen a lot of interest lately. In 2020 they had 3,500 inquiries. In 2021 that number was up to 13,000.
THSC President Tim Lambert said there are 750,000 homeschool students, which is now more than are enrolled in Texas private and charter schools.
"Homeschooling has grown nationally and across Texas for many years, slowly and incrementally," Lambert said. "During the pandemic, we saw an explosion in 2020 and again in 2021."
Lambert said there are many reasons more people are choosing to homeschool including pandemic fears, parents unhappy with the curriculum, and safety concerns.
"The Uvalde incident, same as we saw when the El Paso mass shooting happened, we always see a number of parents who say you know I'm just not sure that my kids are safe anymore," Lambert said.
For Tara Carter, it was to protect her children from bullying and what she calls the "politicization and agendas" in public schools.
"I kind of wanted to be the one to teach my kids those kinds of things, like their morals and what we believe as a family versus what they learn at school," Carter said. "They were learning some horrible things on the bus and at school and come home saying things I wasn't okay with."
For parents interested in also home-schooling their children, the Texas Home School Coalition offers many resources to help you get started.