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As pandemic drags on, more Hawaii parents find home schooling more attractive

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 5:30 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 2, 2021 at 5:33 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - While public schools in Hawaii are reporting another year of declining enrollment, home schooling numbers have gone up.

Around the time schools first shut down in Spring 2020, Hawaii’s home schooling rate was 4.5%, according to the Census Bureau. By October, that figure had nearly doubled.

Hawaii Kids Can, an organization fighting for quality education options for children, said families’ experience with remote learning in the pandemic has inspired some to take over the teaching.

“Nationally, polling has shown that families are much more open to homeschooling than ever before,” said David Miyashiro, the executive director of Hawaii Kids Can.

“Partially because I think everybody, to some extent, got a taste of it last year.”

Miyashiro said families have found stability in home schooling during uncertain times.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made the stability of home schooling much more attractive, right?” said Miyashiro. “You’re not worried about contact tracing, getting sent back home from school.”

Cara Flores had experience with both home schooling and online DOE programs. She decided to teach her son at home without public school programs.

In social media home schooling groups, she said she sees a wider variety of families.

“Before the pandemic, most people home-schooled because they had personal beliefs about the school system, or because they had a kid that they felt public school couldn’t accommodate them,” Flores said. “It’s definitely different now. There are a lot more people home-schooling, so there is a lot more diversity, people who are full-time parents who never intended to home-school or home-schooling because they want to keep their kids safe.”

Clarice Smart is a parent on Oahu, she currently has her fifth-grader enrolled in a DOE online program, but she supplements her child’s learning with home school curriculum.

“We signed her up for a lot of homeschooling classes because the DOE classes weren’t cutting it,” Smart said. “There is no teacher facilitation, we needed more.”

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