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New Homeschooling Data Shows Decrease in Enrollment From Pandemic Surge

The number of home schools in North Carolina soared by nearly 20% from 2019 to 2020. But new data shows a 10% decrease last school year

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The total number of home schools in North Carolina fell during the 2021-22 school year, according to new data released by the state Department of Administration. The decrease — about 10% from the prior school year — may not come as a surprise given pandemic-related changes.

In 2020, as the pandemic hit and many schools closed, a surge in interest in home schooling crashed the state’s website for families to register. That surge was reflected in the data: The number of home schools in North Carolina increased by nearly 20% from 2019-20 to 2020-21.

But that doesn’t appear to have stuck around. The data, released in July, indicates that North Carolina had 11,710 fewer home schools during the 2021-22 school year than in 2020-21.

Longer-term trends

Despite the fluctuations of the previous two school years, the number of home schools in North Carolina has increased steadily over time. In the past five years, the number of home schools increased by about 16% — or 14,151 total schools. In the past decade, the number has nearly doubled.

The total number of North Carolina home schools from the 2012-13 school year through the 2021-22 school year. Source: North Carolina Department of Administration (Link here)

Some counties have seen substantial increases since 2017:

  • Onslow County: 53%
  • Camden County: 46%
  • Johnston County: 41%
  • Orange County: 39%
  • Hertford County: 39%

Also in that time, the share of religious home schools has slowly decreased, while the share of independent home schools has increased. In the 2017-18 school year, religious home schools made up nearly 59% of all North Carolina home schools. In 2021-22, they made up 53%.

Share of religious and independent home schools in North Carolina since 2017. Source: North Carolina Department of Administration (Link here)

Data by county

North Carolina’s counties have substantial variation in their number of home schools and changes over time. Wake County currently has the most home schools with 9,002, while Tyrrell County has 32.

In the 2021-22 data, certain counties saw especially large declines from the 2020-21 school year — Pitt, Swain, and Halifax had declines greater than 20%. Madison, Graham, Randolph, and Jones had declines of about 19%.

Only four counties — Cumberland, Tyrrell, Hertford and Rutherford — saw the number of home schools increase from 2020-21.

The graphic below shows percent changes in North Carolina home schools by county since 2017.

Percent Change in Homeschools between 2017-18 to 2021-22

This article first appeared on EducationNC and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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