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Home School Applications in California Nearly Triple From Pre-Pandemic Numbers

Pandemic fuels large growth in new home schooled students statewide

By Evan Symon, July 5, 2021 11:07 am

According to new statistics released by the California Department of Education, home schooling in California continued to grow during the 2020-2021 school year, reaching record levels of students learning from home.

The number of new home schooling affidavits filed by parents with the California DOE has nearly tripled in the last few years, going from 14,548 in the 2018-2019 school year, to 22,433 in 2019-2020 and 34,715 in 2020-2021. A further 3,215 affidavits for private schools with 6 or more students were also filed in 2020-2021, another large increase from previous years.

While exact numbers of students were not given in reports, estimated figures based on the new affidavit numbers points to similar increase percentages. Pre-pandemic, California had roughly 200,000 home schooled students, with 6.1 million public school students and around 500,000 private school students. However, with the pandemic, as well as other factors such as an increase in parents removing students due to issues over what is being taught, the number of new homeschooled students kept pace with the number of new affidavits with close to 400,000 being homeschooled for at least part of the 2020-2021 school year. The estimated figures also keep pace with the national average of between 5%-11% of students being homeschooled during that time period.

“It’s clear that in an unprecedented environment, families are seeking solutions that will reliably meet their health and safety needs, their childcare needs and the learning and socio-emotional needs of their children,” said the U.S. Census Bureau in March. “In the first week (April 23-May 5) of Phase 1 of the Household Pulse Survey, about 5.4% of U.S. households with school-aged children reported homeschooling . By fall, 11.1% of households with school-age children reported homeschooling (Sept. 30-Oct. 12). That change represents an increase of 5.6 percentage points and a doubling of U.S. households that were homeschooling at the start of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the prior year.”

With most school districts now planning on fully reopening this fall, including the Los Angeles Unified School District which refused to reopen for several months earlier this year due to union concerns, the number of home schooled students is expected to go back down. However, with COVID-19 still a concern, and many parents now used to a home schooling set up, California may now see a permanent higher number of home schoolers in the state for the foreseeable future, potentially depriving many districts of a significant number of students.

Skyrocketing popularity of home schooling in California

“A lot of parents and guardians are going to keep on with home schooling, or at the very least, give it another semester or two,” Ellen Dundas, an Education researcher and statistician from Chicago, told the Globe on Monday. “Right now the percentages are generally higher in the Southeast U.S., as well as parts of the Midwest and West, but states like California are also going to see these pandemic rises not go back down to where they were in 2019.”

“I would say some are being kept out of fear of COVID-19, but a big part of that is parents now wanting to keep that in place. And the reasons have been different. Some simply like it, some are used to it now, some got a big response from students themselves wanting it. A big thing has also been religion and personal beliefs. During COVID, a lot of parents found that teaching at home let them focus more on certain things or teach in a certain way. And, you know, religious parents have been utilizing home schooling for decades. But the pandemic allowed many to try it out, and many have decided to keep it.”

“In particular, California has high religious reasoning for homeschooling, but a lot of it has also been students wanting it. Remote learning and homeschooling led many to want to continue it to avoid being bullied or to help social anxiety and other factors like that.”

And the high number of new homeschoolers could have an effect on school districts.

“Let’s give Los Angeles as an example,” added Dundas. “They have roughly 600,000 students. Even if they lose a quarter of 1% of all students, that’s still 1,500 students. That’s less money going in and that’s a lot to reconfigure. It’s not a huge worry among unions alone, but increased charter schooling and private schooling is. Add home schooling into those figures, and the numbers are boosted. So a long-term increase like this in home schooling can definitely hurt teachers unions. There are bigger fish to fry right now, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there is some home schooling pushback in the next few years by traditional teachers.”

Public school enrollment figures are expected to be closer to pre-pandemic figures in the 2021-2022 school year.

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25 thoughts on “Home School Applications in California Nearly Triple From Pre-Pandemic Numbers

  1. Why is there no mention of the large group of parents keeping their kids out of public schools because they disagree with the curriculum, lack of trust of the school boards and teachers. They are protecting their children from brainwashing NOT COVID-19.

    1. I agree. Covid is an issue but it is secondary or tertiary to the insane ‘woke” evil that teachers unions are forcing on kids. Home schoolers of today will be the only sane, rational people left in the world 20 years from now.

  2. You’re both correct.
    Parents need to insulate their children from the insane woke curriculum and from the insane “health” requirements.
    If parents want to keep their kids home and teach them their 3Rs then good on them. What I find disturbing is that parents need to apply for home schooling. Since when does some school board get to decide whether and how you get to educate your children. Of course it probably has to do with money – if you stay home the local school doesn’t get the average daily attendance cash. Well I say if they want it, they better start earning it because after the last 15 months people are seriously questioning whether they need the public schools any longer.

  3. If financially I could stay home with my child and homeschool her I would. She excelled so much for the time that I was able to last year when the pandemic first hit and she couldn’t go back to school after spring break. All I did was order some workbooks from Amazon that were her “grade level”. Come to find out they had not even touched on most of the things in the workbooks and then when she got to the next grade this year she was actually ahead because she had learned it last year from me. I can only image how much further along she would be if she was at home be taught by me and the “old school” way of doing things like math problems. Definitely makes me question what she gets taught in public school. Or should I say what she doesn’t.

    1. I am not judging at all as I know very well how hard it is to make a living but if there is any way to home school your kids I highly recommend it. We home schooled our kid and she graduated summa cum laude from a private university. She pretty much had a full ride scholarship due to her home school grades . She not only had nothing but straight A’s from grade school to college but she graduated high school with over a year of college classes!

  4. “I would say some are being kept out of fear of PROGRESSIVE INDOCTRINATION, but a big part of that is parents now wanting to keep THEIR CHILDREN SAFE FROM MIND CONTROL…”

    There, I fixed it for ya….

  5. Evan Symon’s primary concern seems to be the mediocre to horribly bad #GovernmentRunSchools.

    If you love God, if you love America, and/or if you love your children, find a way to get them out of the #GovernmentRunSchools, NOW!!!, where they will be dumbed down academically, patriotically, religiously and morally. And now, with #CriticalRaceTheory and #EthnicStudies, the #GovernmentRunSchools will indoctrinate children to be racist, to judge and treat other people based on the color of their skin.

    Homeschooling or private school may save your children from the #GovernmentRunSchools and their dumbed down standards, slack discipline, anti Christian and anti American indoctrination, and sex grooming through #SeXXXEd, but to save the next generation and our country, the only possible solution is #SchoolChoice.

    Homeschooling or private school may reduce your family income or standard of living. But what are your children and your country worth?

    If you are a grandparent, that loves God, America and/or your grandchildren, encourage your children, [the parents], to get your grandchildren out of the #GovernmentRunSchools.

    If the parents feel the need to work outside the home, you can offer to home school or help home school them. You can offer to help pay or help pay the cost of private school as you are able. You can encourage your pastor to start a church school and offer to volunteer and/or contribute.

    Getting your grandchildren out of the #GovernmentRunSchools may be the greatest service you can render to America and your grandchildren.

    Every child rescued from the #GovernmentRunSchools is a blessing for the child and a blessing for America. Getting our children out of the #GovernmentRunSchools is a national survival issue.

  6. This is good news. Government/public schools always have and still do teach, train, and indoctrinate children. In a free nation, you don’t want the government educating children. Non-government education increases free-thinking and healthy diversity. Go, private schools and homeschooling! Also, this is good news for the taxpayer so less is taken from him/her by government force. Californians pay $15,019 per state-school child (plus capital expenditures) and see dismal results from it. Homeschoolers spend about $600, of their own money, per child and see great results. Peer-reviewed research on homeschooling here https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/

  7. I am a happy grandma who loves homeschooling and I volunteer to teach other children whose parents work outside the home.

    I homeschooled my daughter (who is now the mother of my grandchild) and she graduated valedictorian from college and went on to receive her Masters. I’m not saying this to brag but just to point out that homeschooling does NOT hinder children at all! I served on both California State Homeschooling Boards and there is always a way to homeschool even if you work outside the home.

    I also work at a private school because they offer children and their parents the choice of letting their kids breathe while at school; no mask mandates. Instead of wasting your time trying to convince a school board (whose only concern is monetary) to let your kids breathe – homeschool or choose a private school!

  8. I would like to clarify something because the title of this article is misleading. Actually, in California there is no “application” to homeschool. Families who establish a single family private school in their home, as well as private schools with campuses, file an affidavit (under penalty of perjury) with the California DOE annually between October 1-15. This is called the Private School Affidavit. Schools are simply notifying the state that they have a private school. Students who are enrolled in that school are them exempt from compulsory public school attendance. Hope that makes sense. You can find out more here: cheaofca.org

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