(NewsNation Now) — Parents across the country stepped into a new role as schools across the country closed during the pandemic: educators.
The U.S. Census Bureau tracked the rate of American households homeschooling their children; it more than doubled during 2020 from around 5.5% to 11%.
“You start out from that point where you say, well, you know, I’m educated, but I’m not a teacher, but when you really think about it as parents, you are your children’s first teacher,” said Sandra Kim.
Kim and her husband are both working from home and homeschooling their 7, 9 and 12-year-old children full-time.
“We do have screens, we have tablets and we do have computers, but the amount of time that they were required to do by our public schools was just a little bit too much in our minds,” explained Kim.
She is documenting their journey on Instagram.
Kim described, “It has been, really surprising if there’s anything not what I thought it was going to be like, and it certainly is not taking place so much in the home as much as you’d think.”
She takes her kids on field trips to the museum and gives them extra time outdoors
“The mental health of my kids is just really, really great because they spend at least two to three hours a day outside,” stated Kim.
The Kim family is part of a broadening base of homeschooling families brought on by the pandemic.
The Home School Legal Defense Association supports parents who want to homeschool their children.
“It shut down schools. It has caused havoc with the schools as they tried to reopen in various ways, doing different things, according to different safety and health protocols and parents haven’t been satisfied, ” said Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s Mike Donnelly.
The past several years, Donnelly has seen homeschooling rates remain steady at just under 3.5%.
The pandemic changed that with more families than in previous years choosing to homeschool their kids once schools closed. Some states saw bigger jumps than others.
Alaska’s homeschooling rate nearly tripled from 9.6% to 27.5%. Florida’s rose from 5% to 18.1%.
Massachusetts, which has some of the nation’s best public schools, went from 1.5% to 12.1% rate of households with school-aged children homeschooling
Major metro areas, like Detroit and Phoenix, also saw large increases.
The report shows homeschooling increases vary by race.
Black households saw the largest jump in rates of homeschooling, more than quadrupling from where they were a year ago.
National Black Home Educators founder Joyce Burges explained, “We have been impacted at least by a thousand percent simply because African American homeschooling was already growing anyway.”
Burges admits there are challenges.
“And some parents are still struggling with it. I’m not going to say that they’re not,” described Burges. “I spend the time with these one-on-one with these parents, and yes, they are struggling with it.”
While the Kim family isn’t sure how long they’ll roll along with homeschooling, they hope to keep on reaping rewards.
“I really encourage people, even if it’s for a short time to try homeschooling.”
For more information on homeschooling, check out these resources: