Homeschooling Thrives in the Face of Coronavirus

If the pandemic steers more parents away from state schools, that's probably a good thing.


The government has closed most schools.

So, more parents are teaching kids at home.

That upsets the government school monopoly.

Education "experts" say parents lack the expertise to teach their kids.

Without state schooling, "learning losses…could well be catastrophic," says The New York Times. Home schooling "will set back a generation of children," according to a Washington Post column. Harvard magazine's "Risks of Homeschooling" article quotes a professor who calls for a "presumptive ban."

The professional education establishment actually tried to ban it 98 years ago. Then, they tried to ban private schools, too! But the Supreme Court stopped them, writing, "the child is not the mere creature of the state."

I wish the state would remember that.

Anyway, the educator's complaints about home schooling "setting back a generation" are bunk.

Eleven of 14 peer-reviewed studies found home schooling has positive effects on achievement.

In my new video, education researcher Corey DeAngelis explains, "Children who are home-schooled get much better academic and social results than kids in government schools."

Even though they are more likely to be poor, "Home-schoolers score 30 percent higher on SAT tests." They also do better in college, and they are less likely to drink or do drugs.

"Mass home schooling during this pandemic," says DeAngelis, "may actually be a blessing."

Debbie Dabin, a mom in Utah, is one of many parents who started home schooling this spring and now is "definitely considering home schooling" next year.

Dabin bought teaching materials over the internet from a company called "The Good and the Beautiful." Her son likes the lessons better than what he got in school. "It's great," Dabin says. "He likes the activities; he wants to do them."

Before the pandemic, he'd told his mom he hated school.

I hated school, too. Classes were boring. Listening to lectures is a poor way to learn, and unnecessary today.

In addition to home-school teaching programs, there are also free internet games that teach things like math, reading, and writing, while customizing the speed of lessons to each learner's needs.

Sites like teach math by letting kids adjust pizza toppings.

For older kids, YouTube channels like TED-Ed and Khan Academy offer "free educational videos from the world's foremost experts on civics, history, mathematics," adds DeAngelis.

"Not good enough!" say "experts."

Michael Rebell, a professor at Teachers College at Columbia University, worries that if parents home-school, "There's no guarantee that kids are learning democratic values, civic knowledge."

"Were they learning that in their regular schools?" I asked.

"Well…it's in the curriculum," he responded.

So what? The Nation's Report Card, the government's biggest nationwide test, reveals that government-school students don't know much about history or civics.

One question asked fourth graders, "Which country was the leading communist nation during the Cold War?" Only 21 percent answered the Soviet Union. More said France or Germany. American students did worse than if they had guessed randomly.

Another question: "America fought Hitler and Germany in which war?" More picked the Civil War than World War II.

Nevertheless, said Rebell, home schooling is still worse because "there's no effective regulation to know what's going on."

"You sound like you think—because there's regulation, that makes something happen," I said.

"I do," he replied. "Where there's no regulation, that's a worse situation."

But "no regulation" is the wrong way to think about it. There is plenty of regulation. It just comes from legislators and families instead of education bureaucrats.

If this pandemic steers more parents away from state schools, that's probably a good thing.

Philosopher John Stuart Mill warned: "State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another…which pleases the predominant power in the government (and) establishes a despotism over the mind."

A silver lining to this pandemic is that now more parents are learning about their options outside the government system.


NEXT: A Pandemic Does Not Suspend the Rule of Law

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  1. This guy doesn’t talk to people with actual jobs. Most folks coming out of this are going to appreciate what teachers do. But stossel will keep singing the same violent tune.

    1. Agreed. Teaching your own children is violence. Without the state teaching kids they will never learn to be like us woke betters. The kids also need school in order inform the teachers if their clinger parents are doing some thing that should be illegal, like not voting for politions that support the teachers unions.

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    2. “Most folks coming out of this are going to appreciate what teachers do.”

      Warehouse their kids all day?

      1. Something like this?

    3. Most folks coming out of this are going to appreciate what teachers do

      Like providing hands-on sex ed to underage students?

      1. Parents are capable of sexually abusing their children as well.

        1. Yes, but this says nothing about whether government schools would seem appealing to the parents who want to protect their children.

    4. ohlookaStacheBasher.

    5. Teachers get paid for the job they contracted to do, Hihn. Why should they receive “appreciation”?

    6. Funny; I’m still trying to relate a single factor of my adult success to any “teacher did” item past 3rd grade (basic reading, writing and math). I’ve forgotten ALL the other “learning’s” BECAUSE I never used it BECAUSE it was never PRACTICAL in real life..

      That upsets the government school monopoly but not the monopoly creators because LAW-ENFORCE monopolies never have to face competency or competition.

  2. Of all the “things will never be the same” predictions coming out of this, I think people rethinking public schools is the most likely thing to be true. I don’t think everyone is going to suddenly home school, though I imagine a significant number of people will. I do, however, think that a majority of parents now understand just how needlessly long the school day and school year is. A whole lot of people have seen first hand just how much time is wasted in public schools. I think you are going to see a lot more alternative to traditional high school with shorter days and years and earlier graduation as a result of all this.

    1. As one who was homeschooled through high school (albeit in a state that imposes minimal oversight), I would say the biggest obstacle to such a development is that most, if not all, states require a minimum number of days and/or hours of instruction to be afforded per year. In Wisconsin you just have to affirm that you’ve done it, and that’s that. In Minnesota, you have to submit detailed logs to the state. I’m not sure how you get around that.

      1. You are right. And that comes from the feds. The more kids go to school the more days, the more federal money you get. But, I think parents and voters are going to start demanding changes and more flexibility. And assuming Trump wins re-election, the feds are likely to give it to them. The change won’t be immediate but it will happen.

        1. True. I always say I am not a fan of Trump, and get offended by his manner often, but the Republicans are way better at supporting home schooling than the Democrats. Ironically, I live in California, but the state is fairly mellow about homeschooling, and their are a number of charter schools that count as official enrollment, but that support homeschooling. Our program is a charter school, that provides a teacher as oversight, and she is very mellow since we drive our kids and don’t just let them sit around, and the program pays for classes for our local hippy dippy private vendor! Python programming for my 11 year old! This shut down will help show home schooling can be very effective. Many will choose it. But the majority of people just want free babysitting and don’t really care if their students learn anything.

        2. You are right. And that comes from the feds

          No, it’s state by state. Even California, shockingly, is more lax than Minnesota and other states when it comes to home schooling. In California, the only oversight that happens AT ALL is that the State reserves the right to verify your attendance records(?!?!?!). And even that has never happened once to any of the homeschoolers i know.

    2. There are a lot of hybrid options where you can join a homeschooling cooperative. They often have office space somewhere, and the parents either pay money or contribute time by teaching/mentoring/babysitting.

      My daughter (2nd grade) is actually asking to home school after this is all over. Both sets of grandparents have asked if she would miss her friends, to which she replied “I’ll just have playdates with them”. She gets it.

      1. in my experience, the homeschoolers I’ve seen get more social interaction than public schoolers.

        1. Importantly they also interact with people of different ages. An odd side effect of traditional schools is that children only consider people of exactly the same age as peers.

          That’s not the real world.

          And Minnesota is not really very difficult about home schooling. We did it for years and they weren’t intrusive at all.

          We did get grief from the public school admins when they complained we were hurting their test average by not throwing our high achievers into their cesspool.

  3. I hope this is true so kids stop getting indoctrination on far left ideology in public schools. But parents also like getting their kids out of the house and public school is one way that is cheap for them to do it. Also expect a lot of media stories about how great public schools are and how terrible it is for people to home school. The left doesn’t care if it’s a lie as long as people obey on their knees.

    1. Public schools are baby sitting services. That is why I don’t think this will have that big of an effect on the lower grades, as much as I hope it does. I do, however, think it will have a big effect on high school. High school kids don’t need to be baby sat like younger kids do. And both the kids and the parents are going to want things to change and be more flexible than just shipping them off to sit in classrooms 8 hours a day for months on end doing work that could be and should be accomplished in half of the time.

      1. IIRC you don’t have any kids, right?

      2. Public schools are baby sitting services. This is very accurate. You can tell because the #1 priority of the school is attendance, over all other factors attendance is the thing they are most concerned with.

        I’ve always said, public school is for those who are too poor to get out of it.

        1. Around here it costs upwards of forty grand a year to put a kid into private school. That over half my income. Unless you’re a lawyer or own a successful business, you’ve got little choice but to send your kids to public schools.

          1. Yep, exactly

          2. You can thank the “education” monopoly regulations for that. Exactly like the “healthcare” monopoly regulations.

            Ever notice how most “teachers” get hired solely because they have 0-ZERO experience in the subject in REAL LIFE?? It’s just one indoctrinated individual teaching their learned-by-indoctrination indoctrinating to another and NONE OF IT gets used or is useful to a successful life. (Short the stigma and monopoly of prejudices already built around GOV-ED by billions in ads and grants).

  4. My daughter is starving for time playing with kids her own age. That’s about the only benefit of going to school that I can think of.

    1. That’s because of lockdown, not homeschooling. Homeschool children are constantly playing with their friends and having group activities with their friends.

      1. Homeschool children are constantly playing with their friends and having group activities with their friends.

        When neighbors are dicks, and the kid isn’t meeting other kids at school, having a group of friends is easier said than done.

        1. Maybe it’s not your neighbors who are the dicks?

          1. Maybe you’ve got something interesting to say?

    2. So he doesn’t have any kids. If his taxes pay for your kids to go to school, which they do, he should get a vote.

  5. As a couple of homeschooling/unschooling advocates have reminded me just this week, most of what’s happening during this pandemic is NOT homeschooling. It’s state schooling done at home. The teacher posts assignments and parents tell their kids to do them.

    Real homeschooling is about parents making the decisions, and choosing or creating the curriculum. Not about passing on directions from a state school teacher.

    1. Yea, and my daughter’s teacher isn’t teaching anything new. He just keeps sending the same damn worksheets. The kids probably are falling behind because the public schools have done as good of a job with the pandemic as the federal government has.

    2. True, but at the same time, even that is informative. Every parent I know is reporting that their kids are done with everything they need to do by noon if not earlier every single day. They are finding out first hand that their children are having to sit at a desk for hours a day that aren’t necessary.

    3. “Real homeschooling is about parents making the decisions, and choosing or creating the curriculum. Not about passing on directions from a state school teacher.” — << YES, There it is….

      I learned to cook, grow a garden, feed myself, fix my car, do mechanic work, do farm work, run equipment, build a house EVERYTHING that NEEDS to be learned is NOT taught by GOV-ED AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!! It's sickening how useless GOV-ED really is…….

  6. Unfortunately kids probably are falling behind because 1) parents didn’t exactly have time to research this and plan out how to make it happen and 2) the public schools are acting like they’re teaching our kids, even though they’re not.

    1. I don’t disagree. I personally haven’t put a lot of time into developing a curriculum, if this continues however, I am definitely going to be looking at supplementing my kids education. I will probably do some this summer, because what the schools have offered is pretty much make shift work sheets and computer assignments. The only one I think who has had any benefit is my middle child who is in special education because of his high functioning autism. His special ed teacher has had us working on computer programs for math and grammar that actually evolve as he masters skills.

    2. They’re not really falling behind to be honest. Homeschooling happens in compressed timelines anyway. There’s almost no need for the amount of time schools keep kids locked in classrooms.

  7. “Before the pandemic, he’d told his mom he hated school.”

    Probably what he meant was he hated the way he was treated while at the school, both by teachers and other students.

  8. If this pandemic steers more parents away from state schools, that’s probably a good thing.

    Incorrect. It is patently, indubitably, a great thing.

  9. Michael Rebell, a professor at Teachers College at Columbia University, worries that if parents home-school, “There’s no guarantee that kids are learning democratic values, civic knowledge.”

    And by “democratic values, civic knowledge” he means far-left agitprop.

    1. That supplicant Rebell isn’t worthy of a last name.

  10. We thought that what my 1st grader was getting at home after the lockdown was so bad because the school was not prepared however after a conference with the teacher turns out this was exactly what they had been teaching at school. It was a joke, math that she was doing at her private preschool before kindergarten, no phonetics just sight words and zero penmanship. The sad thing is this if from one of the higher rated school districts in the state.

    1. Some important counterpoints:
      – Homeschool parents are necessarily poorer because homeschooling while both parents have full time jobs is superhuman
      – Homeschooling outcomes are likely superior as a result of conscientious decision, not happenstance
      – There is likely to be blowback support for anti-homeschoolers from parents who say “I tried it during the pandemic and it was awful” while experiencing a perfect storm of difficulty (as someone who was homeschooled, the first 6 weeks and the last 6 weeks are the hardest)

      1. I respect your opinion but don’t see how they have a bearing on my comment. Home schooling parents are probably less affluent mainly because they are usually one income homes…someone has to stay home with the children and teach them. Those that have the money are probably sending them to private schools. The sad thing is these home schooling parents are probably still paying taxes to the public school district. I know that more than anything will keep my wife sending our daughter to public school, if you are paying for it use it.
        I concede your second point that they do better probably because of conscientious decisions made by the parents but that should be a good thing not a bad. Parents that want their children to be well educated and take time to ensure it happens is something we all should aspire to. That does not change the fact that public schools are failing our children.
        I don’t see the blow back happening, there may not be a huge swell in public support for home schooling but that does not mean people will take that big of an interest in it. What I do see is that now that the mask is off and people see how poor our schools are at teaching they will begin to take more of an interest in what their children are learning. Unfortunately time is on the teachers side and interest will probably wain and things will go back to the way they are.

        1. I meant to make this a general comment, not a response to your comment (the most recent one). Sorry about that, I appreciate your response. I agree with you on the tax unfairness. I ask myself occasionally if I would be willing to put income-earning aside for a few years if I could afford it (if I were independently wealthy and could live on investment income), and I’m not sure if I could. It would be tough, but extremely rewarding, I think. Closing government schools would probably have a detrimental short-term affect, particularly since administrators would likely find ways to hold on to taxes and deprive parents of tuition for private schools, but I think it would improve our situation long-term.

          From community facebook pages, I’m seeing a slight uptick in parent interest in homeschooling counterbalanced by overwhelming bellyaching from parents who were happy with their government schools and cannot stand the thought of doing without them. Closures are making both sides more animated.

  11. a clip of Stossel c.1983(?) showing Barbara Walters how to use a vcr was on the ABC Soaps show last night it was spectacular.

  12. “If the pandemic steers more parents away from state schools, that’s probably a good thing.”

    Government schools even in the best of times are cesspools of contagions, worse yet during a deadly pandemic, and expensive and oppressive means of providing mediocre educations. Parents should be steered away from them, indeed they should never allow most to reopen.

    Willingly sending our children to Government Schools is a form of child abuse.

  13. “In all countries, in all centuries, the primary reason for government to set up schools is to undermine the politically weak by convincing their children that the leaders are good and their policies are wise.” ~ Marshall Fritz
    “And what is a good citizen? Simply one who never says, does or thinks anything that is unusual. Schools are maintained in order to bring this uniformity up to the highest possible point. A school is a hopper into which children are heaved while they are still young and tender; therein they are pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with official rubber-stamps.” ~ H.L. Mencken
    “Governments have ever been known to hold a high hand over the education of the people. They know, better than anyone else, that their power is based almost entirely on the school. Hence, they monopolize it more and more.” ~ Francisco Ferrer
    “Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

  14. My kids have enjoyed homeschool during this time, and particularly extra time to play outside most of the day. They stay outside for about 8 hours a day lately.

  15. usd55 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening…And whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids. Heres where I went………..

  16. I support Home-schooling, and loathe the Public School would-be monopoly, but there’s a factor here that could blindside those of us who agree with me, and it needs to be discussed.

    At the beginning of the 20th Century, educational theorists were full of bright new ideas they wanted to try. Most of what we know as Progressive Education started there; open classrooms, New Math, child directed learning, and so on. And during the first few decades of the 20th Century a wide assortment of ‘experimental schools’ sprang up trying all kinds of new ideas. The bit in AUNTIE MAME where the narrator gets sent to a nudist school is only a mild exaggeration.

    And the vast majority of these experimental schools appeared to work. Repeated testing, and college entrances, showed that the kids were learning much more completely than Public School students of the day. And so a lot of the New Ideas of Progressive Education gained a great deal of support, and were made a regular part of the curriculum of Teachers’ Colleges, and thus made it into the public schools.

    Where they pretty much failed.

    See, experimental schools are a self-selecting sample. The parents CARE about their children’ education and tend to involve themselves in it. And the teachers in such schools are, for the most part, bright eyed idealists, deeply dedicated to teaching the kids. Of COURSE such schools will produce good results!

    The trap those of us who want to see the public school system seriously dismantled must face is that, at least up to now, Home Schooling is ALSO a self-selecting sample. The great results that homeschoolers-by-choice get are NOT going to show when EVERYBODY is homeschooling.

    I happen to think that several of the Progressive Educationists’ ideas – such as Whole Language Instruction (see-say) – are so bad that any teaching environment that DOESN’T depend on it has to be an improvement…but I may be wrong. We can’t count on Homeschooling being a magic solution. And if we tout it as such, we are going to set ourselves up for an embarrassing failure.

  17. I see the middle path here. My kid goes to a public school but it is very small and community-oriented, and we love it. She actually does receive decent instruction and they do a TON of other stuff like learning to garden, maker space, et cetera.

    I can relate inasmuch as it’s clear that the daily work can be done much faster. Most of the reason the school day is long is that they have to also teach the slow kids or the ones who can’t pay attention, so it Susie has to wait to finish her paper because it takes forever to get Jimmy to stop talking about Minecraft for example. So there’s that. My kid can usually blow through the assigned work in 1-2 hours. Part of that is also because of how we act and how much we interact and look for learning opportunities in our normal lives. Part of that is because she is bright. And part of that is that we don’t have to wait for Jimmy.

    But it is also foolish in my view to completely discount the value of them being there together. It’s not JUST “social control” and every time someone brings up “liberal indoctrination” all I can do is roll my eyes. Yeah, how “awful” that someone teach my kid we don’t need to burn tires and that it’s not ok to solve problems by hitting everyone. Honestly, the morons that live down the street and have produced an 8 year old that wears obnoxious slogan t-shirts rants, about Hillary and thinks that the round earth is just, like, my opinion……is that “better?” Not that I’m a huge fan of Hillary but I also don’t think 8-year olds need to be “indoctrinated” into Trumpism either. Do I need my kid to somehow grow up in a world where the parents’ “independent thinking” has led to their kids thinking that drinking fish tank cleaner is a good thing? Is my kid a “sheeple” because she knows that Jesus didn’t ride a dinosaur?

    1. lol… Notice how you relate useful stuff to “other stuff”??!! 🙂

  18. Homeschooling is a way out at the moment! There are a lot of good guides. Take a look at how to write dissertation acknowledgments guide as welL!

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