DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – National and local homeschooling advocates say interest is up dramatically in recent months as the pandemic has impacted in-person learning. In the past few months, the membership and engagement on homeschool Facebook groups and online forums has increased by seven or eight times the usual levels.
Advocates are educating families about what to expect as an uncertain fall semester approaches.
Lisa Cox started homeschooling in Huber Heights in 2002. She says, “In the last month we have added 1100 new families to Ohio Homeschooling Parents.”
J. Allen Weston says, “It has absolutely exploded, especially the last three weeks.” Homeschool advocates say the coronavirus is leading many Miami Valley families to consider pulling their children from in-person school systems.
Cox is a certified teacher and now helps families decide if homeschooling is right for them. She says, “A lot of families are saying we’re going to just start homeschooling to keep the continuity this year.”
It’s a nationwide trend Weston is seeing as executive director of the National Home School Association.
“An awful lot of parents are now coming to the realization that this is something they are probably going to be doing at least for many months, if not another year or two.”
Cox says distance learning at the end of the spring semester put a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths, but it’s not homeschooling. “My heart goes out to every parent that did that work, because it was difficult for everyone. It’s not stressful for us to choose curriculum and do a lesson a day with our kids.”
And homeschool parents tell her the pandemic has shut down libraries, field trips, and social events. She says, “There’s still a lot of support, so you don’t have to do it alone.”
Many school districts are planning for the return of in-person classes this fall, but Lisa Cox says the uncertainty is enough for some families to homeschool next year, and maybe beyond.
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