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COVID-19 concerns leading to surge in homeschooling interest

Homeschooling organizations see flood of parents reaching out as fall start dates inch closer
Posted at 3:51 PM, Aug 04, 2021

The Texas Home School Coalition announced that the number of families enrolling their children in homeschool has increased exceedingly, as call and email volumes doubled in the last week of July.

According to the THSC, COVID-19 rates appear to be driving the spike of interest in homeschooling. In Central Texas, where many counties are facing rising COVID-19 cases, back-to-school is just weeks away.

THSC said in the last full week of July call and email volumes rose from 536 to 1,016 in one week, and then rose higher to 1,232 in the following week.

This is an all-time high for the coalition, exceeding rates from the fall of 2020, when COVID-19 restrictions were in place and homeschooling families in Texas tripled from 4.5 percent to 12.3 percent by October, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The largest surge was from among minority families, with the amount of black families homeschooling rising from 3.3 percent to 16.1 percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. With a rise in COVID-19 rates in many Texas counties, there is likely to be a similar trend this coming fall, according to the THSC.

But many families are also basing the decision on how well homeschooling is surprisingly working for their families, according to the Associated Press, even if that wasn't a feasible option before the pandemic.

72.2 percent of families who began homeschooling during the pandemic will not be returning to public schools, according to a survey by Time4Learning.

“In 2020 we saw the largest surge in homeschooling in history. It appears that renewed concern about COVID-19 may be about to replicate a similar trend for 2021," said Tim Lambert, President of THSC. "We are also seeing thousands of families decide to continue homeschooling because of how well it has worked for their family. Our team is here to welcome these new families into homeschooling and help them with everything they need to be successful."

In 2019, 6 percent of 3 to 18-year-olds only had home internet access through a smartphone, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Low-income families or students who are struggling with no access to the Internet can find resources here.