While once considered an option for white, middle-class families who opted out of traditional or private schools to focus on their children’s education through a religious lens, homeschooling has begun to gain traction among Black families during the pandemic.
A recent U.S. Census Bureau report showed that homeschooling rates quintupled amongst Black families, with the proportion of homeschooling increasing from 3.3% in the spring of 2020 to 16.1% in the fall of 2020. Though we’ll note that the number may not be completely accurate, due to many children choosing to remote learn in response to the pandemic.
Even so, the numbers signal a significant increase in the number of black children being homeschooled and indicate a trend among the Black population in America.
Micro-Aggressions and Bullying
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many students into online learning environments, there are many other reasons for Black parents to homeschool their children. Didakeje Griffin, for instance, told NPR that she wanted to protect her children from bullies as well as COVID-19. Schools across the country report an increase in bullying affecting Black children recently, some with irreversible, and devastating effects, such as the suicide of Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor.
Similar to the workplace microaggressions adults face, some kids are subject to embarrassing (and even dangerous) encounters with classmates and teachers based on their race. Based on a 2014 study by the Office for Civil Rights of the US Department of Education, Black students are suspended at three times the rate of white students and have higher chances of being reprimanded. The Association for Psychological Science reported in 2015 that Black students are more likely to be labeled “troublemakers” by teachers.
These statistics have contributed to the distrust in the education system among parents and guardians of Black children.
A 2022 Children Now report, which grades California outcomes for children, says overt and systemic racism adds to the pressures on Black youths. Kelly Hardy, senior managing director of health and research for Children said, “What we are seeing as far as causes are that there is overt and systemic racism that is putting additional pressures on Black youth. And that our Black young people are over-policed and under-resourced.”
Beyond the racial tensions developing in and out of schools, many black parents and caregivers cite educational freedom as a reason to homeschool their children, allowing them to learn and celebrate their own culture. Whether intentional or subconsciously Black educational freedom can be stifled in mainstream white-dominant educational institutions.
Moreover, homeschooling can bring out the best in Black children. It allows their creativity to flow without the fear of getting in trouble for being different or disruptive.
Many Black families are finding a community through homeschooling. Parents and caregivers are discovering that there are networks of Black homeschoolers in their area and all over the country. In fact, many communities even have their own community association so homeschooling families of color can find and support each other.
Homeschooling allows children the freedom to ask questions and learn without a strict curriculum. It also allows them to connect with their culture.
Have you started homeschooling your children? Comment below to let us know how it has benefited your children.