Press Releases

Although the Washington Post’s series makes it sound like there is a recent meteoric rise in homeschooling, that actually happened back in 2020. Here are the numbers for Washington State:

the media has made a 28% increase in the number of homeschoolers over the past 5 years seem like a lot, it’s only 7.7% more than we’d expect over that same amount of time, sans a global pandemic. Per the OSPI’s annual count, homeschooling increased by 20.2% in the 5 years before 2018, from 18,218 (2013) to 21,916 (2018).

Year: Number of homeschooled students
2013: 18,218
2018: 21,916 (20.2% increase over 5 years)
2019: 20,844
2020: 39,843 (huge jump from the pandemic)
2021: 32,056 (starting to go back to school post-pandemic, but still while another shutdown was possible)
2022: 28,032 (28% increase over the 5 years from 2018 to 2022 — but only 7.7% higher than we would anticipate over that period of time)

While the number of homeschoolers is higher than would have been anticipated for this year without the pandemic intervening, it’s 7.7% higher than we would have anticipated over that period. The pandemic took away the primary obstacle to homeschooling: fear. Thrust into having their children home for an entire year removed this obstacle and allowed parents to reconnect with their children and carve out a family life they wanted.

Those who chose to remain homeschoolers after the pandemic restrictions lifted have told us they did so for the following reasons:

1. They didn’t want the schools to “pull the rug back out of under them.” They expressed that having found a schooling/daycare situation that worked for them, they didn’t want to return to the schools only to have to scramble to find that delicate balance again.
2. They decided that instead of fighting whatever they disliked about the schools (class size, course content, lack of decorum, ever-increasing focus on testing, disregard for their child’s IEP, lack of services, etc.) that they would just continue homeschooling.
3. Not attending school lowered their child’s anxiety, self-harm, and/or suicidal ideation (and attempts).
4. They wanted to remove their children from the school-to-prison pipeline.
5. They were able to give their child both the rest and the recreation their growing bodies needed.
6. They did not want to return their children to a bullying situation.
7. They realized they could tailor their children’s educations to their needs, that they could work at multiple grade levels across their curricula, and could either retain or move on in subject matter as necessary for their child.
8. They liked the improvements in their child’s socialization.
9. They did not want to return to the untenable teacher:student ratios in the schools.
10. They wanted their children to have exposure to a wider curriculum, set of ideas, and variety people than their local school offered.