Record numbers of Texas families are looking into homeschooling their children this year, according to an organization dedicated to helping Texans take charge of educating their kids.
“We are literally inundated with calls and emails from thousands upon thousands of families asking how they can begin homeschooling this fall,” Tim Lambert, president of the Texas Home School Coalition, announced Wednesday.
“2020 set records for the number of families interested in homeschooling. 2021 is now crushing those records,” said Lambert in a statement, explaining their weekly call and email volume last week set a new record nearly five times greater than their already record weekly number last year.
“In the fall of 2020, the number of homeschooling families in Texas had nearly tripled from 4.5 percent in the spring to 12.3 percent by October, according to the U.S. Census Bureau,” THSC wrote in a Wednesday press release, previously estimating more than 670,000 students across the state could now be homeschooled.
The soaring numbers of homeschoolers in the state also comes as a record mass of Texas families are leaving the government-run public school system, not only to seek better educational opportunities for their children, but because of the hotly contentious coronavirus-related mandates.
“We are hearing parents who are saying, ‘You know, I am real uncomfortable with the situation in the schools,’ ‘I do not want my kids to wear a mask,’ ‘I do want my kids to wear a mask,’” Lambert said.
Indeed, a nationwide survey from May 2020 found that 40 percent of registered voters across the U.S. were more likely to enroll their children in homeschool or virtual school after the coronavirus lockdowns ended.
On top of that, the vast majority of families who start homeschooling want to keep doing it.
“Seventy-two percent said that they were going to continue to home school, 19 percent said they were going back to brick and mortar school, and 9 percent said they were undecided,” Lambert said.
Homeschoolers in Texas have recently gained even more opportunity, as the state Legislature earlier this year approved a new UIL Equal Access law that gives homeschooled students the right to participate in public school extracurricular activities they already fund with their tax dollars.
“Homeschooling has become an increasingly popular option for families looking for a safe, flexible, and well-established form of education for their children,” said Stephen Howsley, a public policy analyst for THSC. “We will be here to support the tens of thousands of new families who are beginning homeschooling this year.”
Families looking for educational resources can find out more at thsc.org.