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Parents are pulling their kids out of public school to homeschool, new data shows

New data from the TEA shows withdrawals from public school to homeschool in the spring of 2021 were up by 40% from the previous year.

AUSTIN, Texas — Post pandemic, the homeschooling boom hasn't let up. According to data released by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), many families are still making the switch.

In an open records request made by the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC), the TEA revealed withdrawals from public school to homeschool in the spring of 2021 were up by 40% from the previous year.

"It's the biggest jump that has been officially recorded so far," said Stephen Howsley, assistant manager of public policy for the THSC.

While the THSC doesn't have data yet for fall 2022, Howsley expects to see an even bigger jump when the numbers are released. 

"Our call volume had never been higher before," Howsley said.

The pandemic was one of the reasons why parents started switching at increased rates. However, other parents stated that they like to have control over their child's curriculum. 

Another factor has been a matter of safety. While there's no clear data showing how the tragedy in Uvalde affected this, the THSC said they often see a spike in homeschooling interest following mass shootings. 

KVUE spoke with one mom who's been homeschooling her kids for four years. 

"Some of those views about public school safety is a concern," Susan Shuffield said. "It's always a concern there. There are other concerns as well about cultural influence and socialization in this day and age."

While safety was not the reason she made the switch, she said it's reassuring to know her kids are safe. Shuffield did say her son has done well since switching to learning from home. 

"He just blossomed," Shuffield said.

According to the THSC, that happens for many kids who are switched to homeschooling.

"Homeschooled students significantly outperform their public school peers on standardized tests," Howsley said. "This remains true regardless of the education level of the parent, the income level of the family or the level of state regulation on homeschooling."

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