Why are Black families choosing to homeschool?

Published: Oct. 10, 2023 at 12:07 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Precious Jefferson has been homeschooling her children for the past seven years.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, about 1,600 students in Savannah-Chatham County for the 2019 school year are a part of the home school program. That number jumped in the 2021 school year to more than 1,900 students.

And while many thought that number would decrease after COVID, the number stayed steady.

The DOE says more than 2,100 students submitted a home school program form for 2021 and 2022.

WTOC Investigates found similar trends in both Bulloch, Bryan, and Effingham school systems.

“They’ve been able to see the benefit since COVID, " said Jefferson “They can now see they don’t have to ship their kids off to school.”

The data does show a slight decline from 2022 to 2023.

Brian Ray, the President of the National Home Education Research Institute, said the dip is being seen nationwide, but isn’t alarming.

“For this past year 2022-2023 we don’t have all the information yet, but I can guestimate,” said Ray. “It was the same or a little bit higher in terms of number of students than 2021-2022.”

Ray also mentioned while 2023 is lower than 2022, it is still higher than 2021. Showing a continuous increase.

WTOC Investigates also looked into the homeschooling number nationwide. According to census data, the number of Black families choosing to homeschool their children has skyrocketed.

At the start of the pandemic, 3.3. percent of Black households were homeschooling their children. By the fall of that year, 16.1 percent of Black families were choosing to homeschool.

That jump was the largest of any racial group. Ray said he saw this growth start about five years ago.

“The reasons why Black families homeschool largely are the same reasons why anybody else homeschools,” said Ray, “more and more resources are available, more and there are more homeschool support groups with a wider diversity of people.”

Ray also mentioned the feeling that the public school system had failed Black kids. Around the United States, there is more and more legislation around teaching minority history. For example, the Florida Department of Education has been getting a lot of backlash for their new guidelines in teaching Black history.

“If we want them to learn about themselves, their history, to not feel intimidated and just to really feel safe and comfortable sometimes its better for them to learn at home or in a smaller setting,” said Jefferson.

As for the future of homeschooling, Jefferson and Ray believe the numbers will continue to grow as the years go on.