Christian Curriculum

Black homeschooling families have quintupled during the pandemic, but what will happen this fall?

Home schooling in the 1980s was typically reminiscent of middle-class white families who chose not to attend traditional district or private schools to focus on teaching their children through the prism of their religious faith. .

In recent years, home schooling has become more than the preferred method of learning for a handful of American families, its popularity increasing as parents become less satisfied with more traditional choices. The pandemic accelerated this trend as parents sought innovative alternatives to virtual programs in public or private schools or wanted to avoid exposure to COVID-19 in in-person schools.

Across the country, the black community has led the way. A recent US Census Bureau report shows that home schooling rates have quintupled among black families, with the proportion of home schooling rising from 3.3% in spring 2020 to 16.1% in fall 2020.

“A common trend we’ve noticed during this pandemic is that parents have taken responsibility,” said Rasheeda Denning, Founder and President of Black Homeschoolers of Central Florida Inc.

Denning started the nonprofit, non-religious group in 2009 to help connect black schoolchildren scattered across the area so they can share ideas and resources. Today, the organization’s Facebook page has 1,212 followers.

“Those busy daily schedules which they said would not allow them to educate their children at home were wiped out in an instant, and they were forced to ‘home school’ due to the pandemic.” , she said.

Many families who otherwise would not have chosen homeschooling told Denning they saw the unexpected benefits for their children as well as themselves.

“The pandemic has ended up being a catalyst to help parents realize their full potential and ability to educate their children at home,” she said. “It also allowed them to get to know their children better and to find weaknesses and strengths, which time did not really allow them to do before. Now they take time, time with the family.

Denning continued, “Some new families will return to traditional schools, but we have found that most of our families appreciate this new way of schooling and will stay with home schooling, seeking support to help them on their journey.”

The growth of home schooling and alternative forms of education such as micro-schools and learning modules has sparked interest from black religious leaders, who see the movement as a chance for churches to provide additional opportunities that will help shut down the school-to-prison pipeline. According to Boston Globe, several churches serving minority populations have offered learning modules to low-income students.

Among these was the Reverend David Wright, Executive Director of BMA Ten Point Coalition, a Alliance from 30 predominantly black churches, who said the alliance had turned its after-school program into full-day learning modules at two of its churches. Together, they have served nearly two dozen students from Kindergarten to Grade 6.

“I think it’s a good thing that the church is involved so that not only are we meeting the needs, but that we can help instill the moral obligations that we want our children to grow up to and practice,” the Reverend said. Mark Coats, pastor of Grace of God Baptist Church in Miami and President / CEO of Grace Christian Preparatory School. “Education plays a big role in what a child decides to do.”

The school welcomes 100 students from preschool to 12e grade, most of which receive state scholarships run by Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog.

Coats also sees expanding flexibility in the form of education savings accounts as the key to allowing low-income black families better access to the enrichment programs that have been available primarily to high-income white students. . Education savings accounts, says Coats, are one way to improve mental health and diagnostic services.

“Not everyone learns the same way, and some kids, while they might not be as fast as others, don’t make them illiterate or incompetent,” Coats said, adding that the Home schooling might be a better option for young children with special needs.

“No parent should be denied this right,” he said. “The Bible says to educate a child in the way he should go. ”

Although home schooling rates among black families have increased faster than any other group during the pandemic, home schooling is not a recent trend in black communities. the Home-schooled black population has doubled between 2007 and 2016, although it was less represented than the black K-12 population as a whole.

The reasons given by black families for leaving district schools in favor of home schooling differ from those offered by most white families, whose decisions were more likely to stem from religious or moral disagreements. According to a article 2015 in the Atlantic, black families were more likely to choose home schooling because of their dissatisfaction with the low expectations and unequal treatment of black children, especially boys.

A 2012 study of black homeschooled families showed that they chose to leave traditional classrooms because of institutional racism. Researchers called home schooling “racial protectionism.”

Despite claims by some academics that home schooling is primarily for those higher in the income ladder, a study by Cheryl Fields-Smith, a associate professor of primary education at the University of Georgia, details how single black mothers successfully execute it as a form of resistance to racism.

Meanwhile, the increase in home schooling among black families has led some district school officials to express concerns on the loss of income due to the drop in registrations. Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman of Black Family Homeschool Educators and Scholars prefers to focus on students rather than institutions.

In addition to warning against over-emphasizing the limits of low-income families, noting that not all homes-schooled families are necessarily financially privileged, Ali-Coleman firmly believes that more money will not protect. not a child of an uneven discipline or a biased program. , two factors likely to push black families to seek alternatives to traditional models of education.

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