The number of families practicing homeschooling has exploded during the past year. Recent data from the United States Census Bureau and several state governments show that homeschooling continued growing from spring of 2019 to spring of 2020.
Then, however, in response to government lockdowns about health concerns (Covid-19, Coronavirus), the number of homeschool students in the United States skyrocketed. There were an estimated 2.6 million homeschool students in grades K to 12 in March of 2020, then 4.5 to 5.0 million in March of 2021.
All of this growth happened soon after various scholars were calling for a presumptive ban on homeschooling and making their cases for why the government must lay more control on parent-directed home-based education homeschooling. Others have argued just the opposite. In this milieu, professors Paul E. Peterson, Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University and Daniel Hamlin, a professor at the University of Oklahoma, developed a series of weekly presentations entitled, Post-Pandemic Future of Homeschooling.
This series of presentations and discussions, by scholars and parents, is designed to allow open, thoughtful, and analytical discussion about various aspects of and related to home education. The organizers write the following:
The purpose of this conference is to improve understanding of critical topics in homeschooling by considering empirical research, expert analysis, and parents’ experiences with homeschooling.
Attendance – Zoom, online – is open to the public but advanced registration is required. All six of the panels run on Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. EDT.
To register, to read about the sessions, and to watch past sessions, click here.
The first session was entitled and described as follows:
Is it time for a change to homeschool law? Does the law on homeschooling need to be revised? What are appropriate restrictions on homeschooling? What rights should homeschoolers have?
In this session, Professor Elizabeth Bartholet of Harvard made her case for why the government (state) must much more strongly control homeschooling. In a 2020 article, she argued for a presumptive ban on homeschooling.
Mike Donnelly, an attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association, explained how laws are gradually becoming more respectful of parental rights in education and why government control is not needed.
In the second session (see video), entitled “Growth and diversity in post-pandemic homeschooling,” Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, presented new research related to barriers to homeschooling and the increase in diversity in homeschool families, and Sarah Grady, a statistician with the U.S. Department of Education presented new research.
Now is the time. The next session is tomorrow, May 27. Hop in, register, watch and listen, learn, make comments, and see what scholars and parents think about the future of homeschooling.
 Ray, Brian D. (2021). Research facts on homeschooling, retrieved May 26, 2021 from https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/