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Homeschooling on the rise for Black families nationwide

WASHINGTON D.C. — A growing number of Black families jumped into homeschooling during the height of the pandemic, and many are staying with it even as in-person learning returns.

LaNissir James is a longtime homeschool parent. She said all seven of her kids are homeschooled, and they’ve stayed with it because of the flexibility and freedom.

“Particularly when it comes down to Black history. I’m able to not be so bothered about what the textbooks teach and don’t teach, I’m able to really organically help them understand a little bit about their history and their why,” said James.

According to the latest Census Bureau data, in spring 2020 only about 3% of Black families were homeschooling, but by fall 2020, that jumped to 16%. That’s compared to the national average of about 11% of families in homeschool during the same time period.

“It’s caused us as a team to create learning materials and supplemental materials,” said Joyce Burges, co-founder of National Black Home Educators.

Burges said the organization helps thousands of families nationwide. She said many Black families are staying with homeschooling for reasons beyond COVID-19.

“Especially these young parents with their home businesses, they want to transfer that to the children, building that legacy and you just can’t have that in a normal classroom,” she said.

For James, this is just the beginning for Black homeschooling.

“They find out about how successful they can be, or even how they can fix some things that are broken, right from their experience in public school, private school, I think it’s going to do nothing but rise,” said James.

There aren’t any federal requirements for homeschooling, but there are state homeschool regulations that include testing for mandatory subjects.

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