Homeschooling in Missouri Nearly Doubled in 2020
Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released the results of its Household Pulse Survey, an effort by the government to understand the impact of the coronavirus on American households. The survey, conducted periodically since the pandemic started, asks questions about work, school, and a host of other issues.
One of the most interesting questions the Census Bureau asked concerns homeschooling. Surveys from EdChoice and others have found huge bumps in the favorability of homeschooling during the pandemic, but have those opinions translated into parents actually taking the leap and homeschooling their children?
According to the Pulse Survey, yes. Yes they have. When asked in late April and early May of 2020, 5.4 percent of American families responded that they were homeschooling their children. By late September and early October, that number had more than doubled to 11.1 percent. And just to be sure, the Census Bureau made clear in its questioning that “homeschooling” meant homeschooling, not simply students working remotely while still enrolled in their traditional school.
The Census Bureau broke down the findings by state, and in Missouri the percentage of families homeschooling nearly doubled, from 5.9 percent in the spring of 2020 to 10.9 percent in the fall. That means that more than 1 in 10 Missouri school children were homeschooled at that time.
The survey also found fascinating trends related to race, with huge increases in homeschooling from Black families (from 3.3 percent in the spring of 2020 to 16.1 percent in the fall), and Hispanic families as well (from 6.2 percent in the spring of 2020 to 12.1 percent in the fall). In fact, expressed as a percentage of all families, homeschooling is now more popular among Black and Hispanic families than among White families, only 9.7 percent of whom were homeschooling in the fall of 2020.
If these trends hold, they represent a sea change in the educational landscape of Missouri and America writ large. We’ll be watching for later iterations of the survey to see if they do.