mother helping her daughter use a laptop
Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

The U.S. Census Bureau provided some data that gives us an idea about COVID-19’s impact on homeschooling. 

In their first phase of the Household Pulse Survey (taken between April 23 to May 5, 2020), the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed a large, nationally-representative sample of families found about 5.4 of households were homeschooling.

That in itself is pretty remarkable because that represents quite a jump. After all, since 2012, homeschooling families made up around 3.3 percent of American households. 

A 2.1 percent is pretty remarkable. This was right when the pandemic took hold. Last fall, during phase two (September 30 – October 12), 11.1 percent of households reported they are homeschooling. 

That is a 5.6 percent jump in just a few months and doubles the number of homeschooling households in the United States. 

The Census Bureau also shows a job among Hispanics and Blacks. Last spring, 6.2 percent of Hispanic households reported homeschooling; last fall, 12.1 percent. Blacks saw the most significant jump from 3.3 percent to 16.1 percent.

They also provided state-level data. Alaska saw the biggest jump from 9.6 percent to 27.5 percent – a 17.9 percent difference. Florida saw a 13. 1 percent gain from spring to fall, Oklahoma a 12.1 percent gain. Massachusetts that only had 1.5 percent of their families homeschooling, jumped to 12.1 percent.

My home state of Iowa actually saw a decrease. We went from 6.6 percent to 6 percent, a drop of 0.6 percent. See the chart below to see where your state stands.

Now the question I ask is, will this surge last? One of the reasons that Iowa didn’t see the enormous jump like what we saw in, say, Massachusetts is likely because most of our school districts were meeting in person at least for part of the week. 

Something else to consider is since households are self-reporting, are they all actual homeschooling, or are some still doing public school at home? 

I don’t know. I think time will tell with more surveys down the road when we are past the pandemic. 

This survey does provide us with some data that families are open to education alternatives and homeschooling saw a boost as families who were forced to do it due to the pandemic discovered they could do it and enjoyed it.

It is definitely a reason to celebrate. 

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