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As students across the country return to school, the number of students returning to traditional classrooms is declining. About 6% of students are homeschooling now, according to national estimates, up from less than 3% of her just a few years ago. In Arkansas, homeschooling has grown steadily over the past 20 years and has increased significantly during the pandemic.

For example, in 2001 nearly 12,000 homeschooled students were reported by school districts statewide. In 2010, that number increased to about 16,000. And by 2019, that number had slowly but steadily increased to 22,000.

However, the Arkansas Department of Education Homeschooling Report 2020-21 reported just over 30,000 homeschooled students last year. That same year, the Arkansas DOE reported that he had 473,000 students in Arkansas public schools and about 27,000 students in the state’s private schools.

That means 6% of Arkansas’ K-12 students will be homeschooled in the 2021-22 school year, more than the number of students in the state who attend private schools. In some parts of the state, the percentage is much higher, with districts such as Eureka Springs and Searcy having him over 20%.

In Arkansas, homeschool students are split evenly by gender. Many of the homeschooled students are younger, with her 2,200 in grade 7 and her 1,500 in grade 12, compared to her 3,000-plus in kindergarten.

Arkansas data does not include demographic information. But as more families choose to homeschool, there is evidence across the country that the reasons for doing so are diversifying. According to a recent report by Aaron Hirsch of the Center for Reinventing Public Education, the fastest growing demographic group in the homeschooling movement is African-American and Hispanic families. is.

Even before the pandemic, homeschooling has become more and more popular for a variety of reasons. Students with special needs, including gifted students, may be better suited to a homeschool setting. Student-athletes and families with less traditional schedules also appreciate the flexibility homeschooling offers.

Homeschooling is often a haven for students who are bullied at school. In fact, safety is the most common reason parents choose to homeschool their children, and it is a particularly common choice for minority families seeking a culturally positive education. The turmoil in the education system that has occurred may have forced many parents who had not considered homeschooling to make changes.

Homeschooling has also become increasingly feasible as more parents are now able to work remotely and supervise their students from home. Improved ability to connect to and collaborate. Homeschool families are often organized through formal or informal cooperatives. Expanded dual enrollment program to allow more students to work from home. And some enterprising public school districts even allow homeschooled students to take some classes that include sports.

Homeschooling growth in Arkansas was substantial last school year, but it may be due to families temporarily exiting the education system due to the pandemic.

There is speculation that the number of homeschools across the country will return to normal during the current school year. These data are not yet available for Arkansas, but other states have data available. Post-pandemic data on homeschooling participation for the current 2021-22 school year show that homeschooling increased dramatically in the early days of the pandemic, but when schooling began to return to normal, there was a commensurate increase in No reduction was seen. For example, New Hampshire states that in 2019 he reported 2,955 homeschooled students, but in 2020 he doubled to 6,110, and in 2021 he had 4,185. Decreased.

Other states with current data show similar patterns.


Angela Watson is an Assistant Research Professor at the Johns Hopkins College of Education and a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy. She works remotely from Northwest Arkansas and is originally from Arkansas.

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