Maryland homeschooling, private school enrollment see big increases

As a grassroots, volunteer-based organization that connects home-schoolers across the state, the Maryland Homeschool Association has tracked data collected by the state education department on home-schooling rates for nearly 20 years.

It always tended to fluctuate seemingly randomly, said founder Alessa Keener, never changing by more than 9%.

“Some years, it goes down. Some years, it goes up,” she said. “There’s never really been, I think, a good explanation (as to) why.”

But in the spring of 2020, the face of education changed drastically throughout the United States as the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the country. The MHA anticipated increasing numbers of home-schooling parents, but the 53.6% increase that came was “unprecedented,” Keener said.

The change MHA noticed was a result of a national trend: parents were pulling their children from public schools as the pandemic persisted. After a slight increase in enrollment in the fall of 2019, the nation experienced an approximate 2.64% decrease in public enrollment in the fall of 2020, according to data from each state’s education department.

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