Bullying, school shootings becoming lead reason for homeschooling | #schoolsaftey

More parents are saying general safety concerns, including fears of school shootings and bullying, are driving their decision to homeschool a child – a deviation from a decade prior when religion was listed as the most prominent reason to leave a public school system.

A total of 1,027 parents, surveyed as part of a Washington Post-Schar School poll released Sept. 26, said their top three reasons for choosing to homeschool a child included concerns about “the school environment” – such as drug use or negative peer pressure – at 74%, wanting to “provide moral instruction” at 68% and dissatisfaction with academic instruction in public schools at 64%.

Fear of school shootings specifically was the fourth official reason, with 62% of parents saying it was the primary reason for choosing to homeschool, followed closely by concerns over bullying at 58% and fear their local public school was “influenced too much by liberal viewpoints” at 46%.

Religious instruction was only the eighth most popular reason at 34%, barely rising above the need to homeschool a child due to having special needs which schools either could not or would not meet. It’s a sharp drop from the 64% of parents who listed a desire to provide religious instruction as a reason for home schooling as part of a 2012 federal survey.

That support dropped to about half of parents in subsequent federal surveys from 2016 and 2019.

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The practice of homeschooling is also becoming more racially and ideologically diverse according to the poll’s findings, with a little less than half of homeschoolers identifying as white. Nearly five years ago, surveys found roughly 70% of homeschooled children were white.

Instead, the poll noted a jump specifically in Hispanic families utilizing homeschooling, with the data inconclusive on whether Black families make up a larger share of the national homeschool population than in years prior.

Who is homeschooling their children, too, has changed in recent years. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, data shows homeschooling was traditionally done by conservative families, with Republican identifying parents outnumbering Democratic identifying ones by a 3-to-1 margin.

Now, they are more evenly split, with independent-identifying parents – clocking in at 43% of respondents – leading the pack. These parents are still slightly more religious leaning that the general population, though, with data indicating about 29% of respondents indicating a belief the Bible was the literal word of God.

More than half of homeschooling parents, too, noted they felt their local school district taught too much about gender identity, with another 35% saying they felt too much was taught about racial discrimination in the U.S. as well. This, compared to non-homeschooling parents, with only 31% saying they felt public schools taught too much about gender identity and 16% saying too much was taught about racial discrimination.

Even with this is mind, this generation of homeschooling parents are more open to the idea of returning their child to public school, with about 7 out of 10 parents saying they would consider doing so. Another 37% indicated their homeschooled child already took some classes or subjects from a public or private institution.

The poll was conducted Aug. 1 through Aug. 10 using parents with children ages 5 to 20. There is a ±6 percentage point margin of error.

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