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How Did COVID-19 Affect Homeschooling Rates in the United States?

How Many Parents Are Homeschooling During the Pandemic?

Homeschooling rates in the United States have remained fairly steady for the past decade at around 3.3%. However, the COVID-19 pandemic ignited interest in homeschooling and other alternative schooling arrangements. This propelled homeschooling rates in America to 11.1% in the fall of 2020. In such an unprecedented environment of ever-changing restrictions and looming fears, families have been seeking solutions that can keep their family safe and their children engaged academically, emotionally, and socially. To plot and understand this shift, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted the experimental Household Pulse Survey, which provides the first ever data-driven glimpse into homeschooling trends in America and how the pandemic has shaped them. The team at AAAStateofPlay visualized this fascinating homeschooling data here: 


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How Did COVID-19 Affect Homeschooling Rates in the United States? - - Infographic

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Where Is Homeschooling Most Popular in the United States?

Which states homeschool the most? Prior to the pandemic, homeschooling was most popular in Alaska, with 9.6% of households participating. By October 2020, that number had grown to 27.5%, an impressive 17.9% increase. That was the largest increase of state homeschooling rates during the pandemic. Why is homeschooling so popular in Alaska? The very nature of Alaska’s location and climate has created a culture of independence and self-sufficiency, so it’s no wonder that homeschooling is a popular option. Alaska also provides 30 official homeschool programs, which encourage freedom to choose or design a curriculum that resonates with a family’s educational philosophies, schedules, and goals. Beyond these programs, Alaska has minimal regulation over homeschooling. There are no notification, instruction time, parent qualification, subject, or assessment requirements. 


Here are the top 20 states that experienced the largest increases in homeschooling during the pandemic: 

  1. Alaska: 17.9% increase
  2. Florida: 13.% increase 
  3. Vermont: 12.8% increase
  4. Oklahoma: 12.4% increase 
  5. Mississippi: 11.6% increase
  6. West Virginia: 11.2% increase 
  7. Massachusetts: 10.6% increase 
  8. Nevada: 10.6% increase 
  9. Montana: 10.1% increase 
  10. New York: 9% increase 
  11. Georgia: 8.9% increase 
  12. Louisiana: 8.3% increase 
  13. New Mexico: 8% increase 
  14. Tennessee: 7.8% increase 
  15. Texas: 7.8% increase 
  16. Kansas: 7.7% increase 
  17. Arizona: 7.6% increase 
  18. Maine: 7.6% increase 
  19. Alabama: 7.1% increase 
  20. South Carolina: 6.8% increase 


Here are the top ten states with the highest homeschooling rates in October 2020: 

  1. Alaska: 27.5% increase 
  2. Oklahoma: 20.1% increase 
  3. Montana: 18.3% increase 
  4. Florida: 18.1% increase 
  5. Vermont: 16.9% increase 
  6. West Virginia: 16.6% increase 
  7. Georgia: 8.9% increase 
  8. Mississippi: 15% increase 
  9. Louisiana: 14.5% increase 
  10. New Mexico: 14.3% increase 

Due to COVID-19, homeschooling has become something of a movement that shows no sign of stopping. Overall, the National Home Education Institute has found that the number of homeschooled children in grades K-12 has doubled from 2.5 million in 2019 to 5 million in March 2021. Fortunately, homeschooling can offer a wide range of benefits, such as more opportunities for play and physical activity, flexibility in learning opportunities, individual attention, a more relaxed and natural environment that reduces stress and anxiety, and closer family bonds.


Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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