November 11, 2014 || KYLE OLSON
Similar to trends elsewhere in the country, Virginia has seen homeschooling rates nearly double over the last decade.
“In 2002, Virginia had 22,021 home-schooled students, or 1.8 percent of the student-age population. In 2013, the number was 35,858, making up 2.7 percent of the student-age population,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
Virginia’s rapid increase outpaces the national percentage rise of school-age children being homeschooled. Across the country, it was about 2.2 percent in 2002 and in 2013, it was 3 percent.
“Relaxed state laws, the growing options for print and digital curriculum and the increasing popularity of individualized education have contributed to the rise of home schooling, which has been most pronounced in rural parts of Virginia,” according to the paper.
Some students say they chose to leave government schools due to “bullying and cliquishness.”
“Public school would hold me back,” 17-year-old Stephen Baker says.
“A lot of companies are doing a lot of innovative things. And there’s breathing space for someone like me who wants to do something different,” he tells the paper.
Others are uncomfortable with the trend and increasing control afforded to parents.
“There’s a public responsibility, there’s accountability,” former state superintendent William C. Bosher Jr. says.
But can parents really do any worse than government schools?
After all, Richmond had the worse graduation rate in the state – 73 percent.
“It’s a victory for 73 percent but for the other 27 percent it’s a failure,” said Bosher told CBS 6 last year.
But with the rise of technology, it’s becoming much easier for parents to be the teacher.
“Sylvia Diaz, coordinator of Tri-State Homeschoolers Association, which caters to home-schoolers in the New York metropolitan area, said she had seen an uptick in inquiries this year from parents concerned about the implementation of the Common Core education standards,” according to USA Today.
“It has wreaked havoc with a lot of parents, and they say their children are confused and anxious,” Diaz says.
“If you are home-schooling, you are completely out of the clutches of the Common Core,” parent Arlene Figueroa tells the paper.
She’s a part of a “tribe of moms” who help each other educate their children.