The amazing academic opportunities for homeschoolers that come as a result of early homeschooling are now becoming so mainstream, we are starting to see the great diversity it creates. In fact, the Center on Reinventing Public Education conducted a study with some findings to this effect. A policy brief from the center included a statement that more black families are favoring homeschooling, after rejecting their own district schools and their traditional public school or private school methodology.
The homeschooling movement was once viewed as a practice adhered to primarily by white conservatives based on Christian religious beliefs. But that view is quickly changing. Now, it’s obvious that the movement is more diverse than it ever has been, racially and religiously speaking.
How Things Are Changing for Homeschoolers
Among black families who are opting out of the public school system, racism and lack of classroom opportunities are some of the main motives cited. As they move into the homeschooling niche, they represent some 8 percent of all documented homeschooling families. This number may err on the lower end of the spectrum, as some families live in areas where their decision does not have to be documented.
The same thing is being seen in the Hispanic population as well, with nearly 26 percent of American homeschool families identify as Hispanic. However, even with that relative number of Hispanic-identifying homeschoolers, it’s an area that has seen very little scholarly study.
It’s quite possible that the ease of access to a large number of homeschooling resources and homeschool curriculum could be behind the influx in numbers from across the board. With customizable options, start to finish, more parents are making use of online resources, online community groups, online courses, assistance programs, co-ops, and so much more. Each resource offers different levels of involvement and can help meet the various legal regulations for each state. To learn more about the legal requirements in your state, check with the HSLDA, Homeschool Legal Defense Association.
Homeschoolers and Dissatisfaction With Government Schooling
The fact is, no matter what public school we’re talking about, traditional classrooms are capable of meeting every single need of every single student in attendance. This is true across a broad spectrum that includes race, ethnicity, gifted children, special needs children - even those children who put unseen fetters on themselves for some reason that teachers may never understand. And each unaddressed need leaves a gap; the potential for failure. At the same time, it is a wonderful opportunity to step in and minimize, if not eliminate, that risk.
Children are simply not cookie-cutter images of one another. Every child has specific needs that may be intellectual, emotional, or a mix of both. And this is where more homeschooling parents are stepping in to address this very serious traditional school shortcoming in a way they believe is best for their family.
Ethan Reedy is the president of a group called the DC Home Educators Association. He spoke with The Christian Post to talk about the growth taking place in homeschooling, especially concerning diversity. This is taking place in the homeschooling community at large, but not just in numbers. The diversity is climbing as well, as parents hope for better results. At the very least, these parents have realized that they can make better choices through homeschooling than any bureaucrat that simply sees numbers, and not actual children, let alone their specific needs.
The Home School Legal Defense Association’s director of Federal Relations, William A. Estrada, cited Common Core Standards as a factor for families leaving the public school setting. He explained that as implementation began in 2012, and then testing became aligned with the Common Core agenda, there was a mass exodus away from public schools. He went on to say that this had created growth in homeschooling across secular and ethnic communities as well, not just those who claim a conservative or Christian agenda.
Many Reasons “Why”
The truth is, public schools constantly fail children in many areas. In the vast arena that encompasses learning in general, safety, in moral values, today’s society seeks to be so inclusive that more people actually feel left out. But if you get down to the grassroots and speak to those who have actually decided to choose home education, their reasons will vary greatly. They may also surprise you, especially in the “accepting” and “non-offensive” world in which we live.
Many families decide to homeschool because their children are being bullied based on their race or ethnicity throughout the school year. This bullying lasts for years for some children, even well into high school. As much as society has preached against it, as many laws have been passed, as many social media posts are shared, it still doesn’t cull the numbers of those children who will still bully, regardless of the cost.
Other families cite concern that their child’s academic needs are being ignored, the right to be in control of the information their children are being taught, or greater flexibility in all aspects of their child’s education. Reasons for homeschooling are as diverse as those families choosing to take on the endeavor. And that’s one of the nicest things about it.
The Atlantic also talks about the massive move towards homeschooling by African American families, stating that black families are the “fastest-growing demographic in homeschooling.” One mother, whose child was the only black student in both his kindergarten and first-grade classes, stated that she was told her child would be “monitored,” leading to the assumption the CHILD had done something wrong. As a registered nurse who worked 12-hour shifts, she adjusted her schedule so that she would be able to pull her child's enrollment from this public-school environment and offer a better education within their own home.
A spokesperson for the National Black Home Educators states there has been exponential growth in membership in the last fifteen years, as more black families seek to homeschool their children. She also speaks of the increase in attendance at their National Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
There is great diversity in the homeschooling community at large, and this is something you’ll see represented when you attend one of our seven Great Homeschool Conventions. If you are new to homeschooling we highly recommend attending this conference. We offer many great speakers, workshops, answer frequently asked questions, and host a variety of curriculum and resource vendors as well. It’s a great opportunity to meet other homeschooling parents and, if you are new to the endeavor, to glean from those who are veterans.
We understand that some families have to travel much farther than some, and so we offer incentives to hopefully make it easier for those traveling long distances. Clicking on the links below, you’ll find that we offer hotel discounts, military discounts, and free admission for active members of the clergy.
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And remember, Great Homeschool Conventions are: Equipping… Encouraging… FUN!