As homeschooling becomes increasingly popular among families across the nation, research shows African-American parents are becoming more interested in homeschooling as an alternative to local government schools.
Widely Popular Alternative
Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to conducting and collecting research about home-based education, says homeschooling is growing quickly in popularity in the United States, especially among minorities.
“Based on research, we do know that homeschooling has been growing at a fast rate for the last 30 years,” Ray said. “We do know from empirical evidence—not a lot, but some empirical evidence—that over the last 10 to 12 years, it has grown disproportionately faster among minorities, including blacks, than the general rate of growth. My experience confirms that.”
Ray says minority homeschooling families largely have the same concerns as others who have left the government education system.
“The reasons why black parents choose to homeschool are marginally the same as everybody else,” Ray said. “There is an added reason—but it is not the primary reason that they sometimes give—of racist experiences in public schools or not enough emphasis on what they would like to see in terms of cultural education.”
‘Why Do Parents Homeschool?’
Ray says all homeschooling families want what’s best for their children.
“Why do parents homeschool? It’s really simple,” Ray said. “They want a good academic education for their children. They think they can do as well or better than public schools. They want stronger family relationships. They can spend more time together. They want to give more guidance to their children’s social interactions. They want a more customized education for their children for their strengths and weaknesses. They want a safe environment. They want to pass on their own views and worldviews and not have the government schools do it.”
Joyce Burges, founder of National Black Home Educators, a non-profit organization supporting African-American homeschooling families by connecting parents with local and state support groups and building cooperation between homeschooling families, says parents can see government schools are failing their children.
“I think it’s growing because parents, especially new parents, are seeing children being misused or abused or falling among the cracks, and they aren’t going to put their children in that system at all,” said Burges. “Then you have another group of people who are homeschooling, like it was in my case, where your children are literally being labelled or pulled out of the system, and no one is taking the time with them.”
Teaching an Important Story
Burges says homeschooling allows African-American parents to teach their children about their unique heritage.
“Another reason [parents are homeschooling] is because black heroes aren’t being taught in our schools anymore. Of course, years ago they took black history out of the curriculum, so they aren’t learning about our heroes.
“Another reason is simply because parents want to teach children their lifestyle and what’s important to them,” Bruges said. “Parents want their children to know that, and, of course, schools don’t teach that.”
Burges says homeschooling gives many African-American children a much-needed boost.
“There was a conversation years ago about what can close the learning gap between African-American children … and their white public school counterparts. Homeschooling closes that gap.”
Kimberly Morin ([email protected]) writes from Brentwood, New Hampshire.