BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many families switched to homeschooling.
Much has gone back to normal, however, the number of parents becoming home teachers remains high.
Amber Johnson, a mother of four, ended up homeschooling amid the chaos of the pandemic. She said 2020 was a rollercoaster for her family and the unexpected happened.
“My second, Ethan, was diagnosed with cancer and then the world shut down. In May of that year, my oldest was diagnosed with type one diabetes and he was at the time in first grade,” said Johnson.
She said remote learning was a bumpy ride with Ethan struggling to sit at a computer all day. Eventually, her eldest was back to hybrid school and ended up missing a lot of class time because of treatments like taking his insulin shots.
“It just was not conducive for our life,” she stated.
Johnson is one of many who chose to transition to parent teaching during the pandemic as homeschool numbers hit an all-time high, increasing by 63% according to the Associated Press.
“It helped us work around that. You know, we could school in parking lots. We could school at the doctor’s office. We could go when we got home,” she explained.
For some families, they had to choose to either continue homeschooling or go back to traditional learning. Many chose to homeschool.
“Homeschooling has continued to increase, but a lot of people thought it would drop off when schools, the private schools and public schools were reopening. They expected it to go back down. But that’s not the case,” Homeschool Louisiana President Christopher Chin explained. “Over the last five years, the public schools in Louisiana, there’s been a four and a half percent drop in enrollment. For private schools, there’s been a 6.9% drop in enrollment. But for homeschoolers, it’s increased 22%.”
Chin said the pandemic broke the camel’s back. Many families discovered new avenues they’ve never considered, like homeschooling.
“With the public schools and or private schools, it just wasn’t a good environment from a value perspective, like what they value as a family. The second thing is safety. So violence and bullying hasn’t gone away,” he said.
“It wasn’t the school we grew up with anymore. And I think parents were recognizing that. And also because of the pandemic, a lot of parents have been able to stay home or work from home,” added Johnson. “Kids are not cookie cutter. We’re all different for a reason, you know? And I think that schooling and your child’s education should reflect that.”
Johnson said her sons love to homeschool and the bonds they’ve formed with other homeschool groups, and she doesn’t plan on going back to learning in schools anytime soon.