March 25, 2023

As students return to school, not all return to the classroom. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 4 million students across the country are expected to study from home in the upcoming school year.

Classes reopen for Snively families near Louisville, Kentucky. Valeri Snively, a former teacher, is homeschooling her three children.

“It’s great to have the freedom to pick and choose what works best for your child’s learning style,” Snively said.

Homeschooling in Kentucky has grown 81 percent since 2018, according to the Kentucky Department of Education.

“Honestly, I think there’s a lot of reasons,” Snively said. “I think some of it is health related. Some of it is for religious purposes. Class sizes are getting bigger and unfortunately the learning of the students has been affected.”

For Angie Blunk, homeschooling is about the safety of her granddaughter.

“I just thought, you know, like a shooting or something,” Brenke told CBS News. “Like, can you imagine that trauma?”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, there were 3.7 million homeschooled students in the 2020-21 school year, an increase of more than 1 million from the previous year.

“It’s the discipline of our kids, the over-discipline,” Cheryl Fields-Smith, a professor at the University of Georgia who studies home education, told CBS News. “It’s the low expectations of our kids, the lack of access to a gifted education. … So by homeschooling it, it’s a sanctuary because the kids are protected from that kind of school environment.”

While traditionally homeschooling is more common among white populations and rural settings, this is changing. According to the Department of Education, Black and Hispanic students are the fastest-growing homeschool demographic. The number of black students studying at home more than tripled to 16.1 percent in October 2020, according to the Census Bureau’s Pulse Survey.

Fields-Smith doesn’t think that trend will change.

“I would say it’s more of a norm for black families than it used to be,” Fields-Smith said.

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