Washington State’s Homeschooling Is Up
In recent years, homeschooling has emerged as a popular and viable alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar education.
In recent years, homeschooling has emerged as a popular and viable alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar education. This educational approach, once considered unconventional, is gaining traction for various reasons, including flexibility, personalized learning, and concerns about the traditional schooling system. Among Washington families who took up homeschooling during the pandemic nearly half are sticking with it, according to state data.
One of the most significant advantages of homeschooling is the ability to tailor education to a child’s individual needs and learning style. This personalized approach allows students to delve deeper into subjects they are passionate about and progress at their own pace. This has brought about declines in student enrollment. Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is facing budget shortfalls due to declining enrollment.
The pandemic accelerated the adoption of homeschooling, as many families sought alternatives to in-person schooling to ensure the safety and continuity of their children’s education. Black families and families of color, who cite the desire to avoid bullying, racism, violence and the school-to-prison pipeline as chief reasons for their continued commitment. SPS is predicting that enrollment will continue to decline from 49,550 this year to 46,910 in the 2025-2026 school year.
This school year, there are 28,000 registered homeschoolers in Washington state, up from 20,000 in 2019, but down from the pandemic peak of 39,000. Some parents are dissatisfied with the quality of education or safety concerns in traditional schools, leading them to explore homeschooling as a viable alternative.
The rise of online resources, educational software, and virtual learning platforms has made homeschooling more accessible and engaging. This all has costs. On average in Washington, $17,199 was allocated per student from state, local and federal funds in the 2021-2022 school year.