As the number of homeschooling families nationwide has soared as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, HSLDA has received several questions regarding the impact that these increased numbers will have on the homeschooling movement: at the heart of these questions is the concern that these new numbers will bring more outside scrutiny and attempts to regulate.
No one knows how many parents will decide to give up on public school (whether temporarily or permanently) and start homeschooling, but let’s use some mathematical hypotheticals to see what the coming years might look like. According to recent polls, as many as 40 percent of public school parents have said that they would seriously consider homeschooling if public schools don’t return to the way they were.
There were 55 million students who were displaced from the public school system in the last three months of the 2019–20 school year. Think about this: if only 10 percent of these students join the homeschooling community, that’s an addition of around five million new home-educated students. That will more than double the current homeschool population.
Everything will be different. Can you imagine the shock that the public schools will feel when 10 percent of their students simply stop attending school? The teachers may be happy, as they can spend more time with each student still in their classes—but the administration will be unhappy because this drop in attendance represents a loss of revenue, as a large portion of their state and federal funding is based on the average daily number of students in attendance.
There will be a concerted effort to bring these students back. Attendance personnel will be calling and trying to locate former students. After all, fewer students means less money.
The key for new homeschoolers is to make sure they give written notice of the withdrawal of their children from the schools they had been attending and then comply with their state’s requirements for homeschooling.
The more of us who call, email, and personally visit legislators, the better the chance we have of preserving and expanding our homeschool freedoms.
Since it’s legal to homeschool in some form or another in every state, complying with the requirements means that the school can’t legally do anything to stop them. (This is where being an HSLDA member and consulting with our legal team can give clear guidance and peace of mind through the process.) Some new homeschooling families have sought innovative solutions to give their children a quality education.
There are concerns that increased numbers in homeschooling and mass evacuation from the public schools could bring legislative scrutiny. This is possible, and some states have year-round legislative sessions. But most state legislatures have concluded their 2020 sessions, so any new activity would probably happen after January.
The key to preserving our freedom is widespread grassroots participation from homeschoolers like you. The more of us who call, email, and personally visit legislators, the better chance we have of preserving and expanding our homeschool freedoms. With higher numbers of homeschoolers, we have the potential to be more effective in the legislative battles.
As Patrick Henry once said, “the battle . . . is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” With the help of state homeschool organizations, local support groups, our members, and other friends of home education, we have been able to withstand efforts to roll back freedom over the years. And with the newest families in our movement, we’ll be able to preserve our freedom for years to come.
So, with the advent of many more families homeschooling, I say, “the more, the merrier.”