We’ve heard it what feels like a million times now…kids were forced to learn at home at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and for much of the following year. We know that some students thrived and that some students struggled. We know that once schools reopened–at least partially for hybrid learning–some kids went back for in-person learning, others stayed home for all-remote learning through their school. Still others decided that their local school wasn’t for them at all anymore, in-person or remote. And those families turned to homeschooling.
The number of homeschooling families in the United States doubled from the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year to the start of the 2020-21 school year. And that’s not including students learning from home through their public or private schools–this is genuine homeschooling that has no affiliation with a school system. We pointed out a couple weeks ago that the US Census reported a 5.6 percentage point increase in homeschooling, but why?
Let’s take a look at five reasons families made the permanent switch to homeschooling.
- Flexibility. The one aspect of homeschooling that may have opened the most eyes over the past year is the flexibility that homeschooling affords families. Kids who were at home but learning through their local school still had to be online at a certain time and until a certain time. Obviously when schools are open (if they aren’t already), students have to be awake, fed, dressed, and at the bus stop pretty early in the morning. Homeschoolers? Nope. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that it can happen at any time and anywhere.
If you want to start at 11 in the morning and finish at 4, go for it. If you want to start at noon, go until 2, take a break, and then go from 4 to 5? Feel free. There is no set schedule (unless you enroll your student in live courses, in which case there will be some scheduled class time), there usually isn’t any minimum or maximum number of hours your child has to be in class (double check your state laws on this, however). It’s all up to you.
And homeschool can go with you wherever you are. As long as there’s an internet connection (and sometimes even without, if you use a textbook-based curriculum), you can have school. That means your student can learn while you’re on vacation, on a business trip, or traveling to see family. With so many parents working either full- or part-time, the ability to flex and work around your busy schedule is absolutely invaluable.
How Bridgeway can help: We offer classes of all kinds to fit every type of schedule. Our Self-Paced courses are…well, exactly as they sound…they can be taken at your child’s own pace, whenever it works for your family’s schedule. Bridgeway Academy also has textbook and blended learning courses available that can be taken when it’s convenient.
- Academics. Simply put, a Bridgeway education is a high-quality education. We work with more than 40 curriculum providers to ensure that we offer the best of the best when it comes to homeschool courses and materials. Our Live Online Classes are taught by experienced, licensed, and passionate instructors who know how to effectively teach in a virtual classroom environment. We are fully accredited, which means we are continuously improving and holding ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to our academic offerings. Plus, over the past three-plus decades, nearly 90% of Bridgeway’s graduates have moved on to higher education.
How Bridgeway can help: See above!
- Behavior, Social, and Learning Issues. Sometimes certain students simply aren’t the right fit in public or private school. Some students have learning disabilities that require a different pace than what traditional schools will allow. Others might be the target of bullying or have some type of social anxiety. Those students who do suffer from any one of a number of learning, social, or behavioral issues might have been struggling in school prior to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing everyone to learn at home in some way, shape, or form.
Like many other families, it may have taken the pandemic for their eyes to be opened to the benefits and advantages of homeschooling. Suddenly children weren’t bullying or being bullied anymore. Students with anxiety were at home–literally–in school, free to be themselves without the weight of any burdens on their shoulders. Those with learning disabilities (like ADHD, ADD, dysgraphia, and dyslexia) or behavioral disorders were able to work at the pace that suited them, and many experienced success in the classroom for the first time in their lives. Just like homeschooling may not be for everyone, the same applies to traditional schooling–and for those students, the “forced” homeschooling was their saving grace and may have changed the course of their education–and lives–forever.
How Bridgeway can help: For those who have improved but still need assistance with homeschooling, Bridgeway’s Total Care HOPE for Disabilities program is the perfect solution. This program doesn’t simply treat learning disabilities–it creates new neural pathways that increase learning capacity and help students overcome learning difficulties. Our one-of-a-kind approach to homeschooling your child with learning disabilities includes a full year of sensory-integration-based learning therapy, five core subjects for a complete year of homeschooling, one-on-one support from a trained academic advisor, and peace of mind knowing that your homeschool program is accredited.
But our Self-Paced courses are also ideal for those who simply want to do school at their own speed. Traditional school doesn’t wait for the ones who need more time–the teachers are obligated to cover a certain amount of material in a certain amount of time; the students who might struggle with learning or just aren’t quite as fast as others get left behind. Not with homeschooling, though. Kids can work at their own pace, in a way that works best for them. And you can’t put a price on that.
- Choice. Let’s face it. In traditional schools, you’re kind of stuck with the courses and curriculum that the school district mandates. Homeschooling offers more choices. Of course, some states and school districts do require homeschooled students to satisfy some course requirements–English, math, science, social studies, and physical education are typically some of the classes that might be required. If you do plan on permanently homeschooling, be sure to check your state’s homeschool laws to make sure your child is meeting any possible requirements. Otherwise, homeschoolers are more or less free to study what they please. This includes plenty of electives and courses that teach real-world, real-life skills (think finance, cooking, technology, etc.). Plus, homeschooling offers the freedom to choose classes that actually interest your child…imagine that!
How Bridgeway can help: We offer a large selection of courses that not only fulfill educational requirements but also satisfy students’ curiosity and desire to learn more about subjects and topics that pique their interest. Our Live Online Classes, for example, offer a wide range of fun, engaging courses that teach skills to use even after graduation. Plus, a Bridgeway education provides a huge selection of curriculum options, as we partner with more than 40 publishers to ensure every student has access to the course materials that are right for them.
- Religious beliefs. There are some who have preconceived notions about the involvement of religion in homeschooling. The fact of the matter is, while homeschooling is a popular education option for many Christian families, religion is not the top reason why families homeschool. In fact, according to an NCES report from 2017, the “desire to provide religious instruction” (16%) ranked behind “concern about school environment” (34%) and “dissatisfaction with academic instruction” at other schools (17%). This is a huge drop-off from 2003, when nearly 30% of respondents selected “religious or moral instruction” as their top reason for homeschooling.
The caveat here is, 2020 and 2021 changed the numbers significantly, though we’re not entirely sure what that looks like just yet. But it’s probably safe to assume that the “religious reasons” percentage dropped even more. Despite all of that, many families do feel strongly about their religious principles and do want their beliefs to be integrated into their child’s education. They won’t find that in public schools. Of course, private schools may offer this type of education, but these schools’ costs are prohibitive for many families. That’s one of the reasons that homeschooling is so popular among religious families. It’s an affordable option that allows parents to use Christian curriculum as they see fit.
How Bridgeway can help: While most of our courses and curriculum are secular, we do offer a great selection of Christian and faith-based curriculum through our many publishing partners to ensure those families who opt to work their beliefs into their child’s education have plenty of titles from which to choose.
If you’ve already made the permanent switch to homeschooling…congratulations! It’s a choice you certainly won’t regret, and we hope that Bridgeway Academy is your homeschooling partner through the rest of your child’s education. If you’re on the fence or contemplating a move to homeschooling, what you just read was just a sampling of all the reasons homeschooling might be the right move for your student and your family as a whole. Homeschooling is a rewarding journey that can bring families together as few other things can. Call Bridgeway Academy at (800) 863-1474 today to get your questions answered and to start the incredible adventure that is homeschooling.