It’s a common perception that white, evangelical families are the most likely to homeschool their children. But a growing number of Black families have started teaching their kids at home — especially during the pandemic. The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey found that in April 2020, 3% of Black households homeschooled their children, and by October 2020 it was up to 16%.
Those numbers may not be completely accurate, the Bureau noted, because a lot of children were learning at home in 2020. So partway through the survey period, the homeschooling question was expanded to clarify that homeschoolers did not include children enrolled in public or private school. Even so, the numbers signal a significant increase.
Joyce Burges, the founder of National Black Home Educators, said that since 2020, thousands of families have joined her organization.
“I think you’re going to see more and more parents, Black parents, homeschooling their children like never before,” Burges said.
“COVID was the catalyst”
Didakeje Griffin in Birmingham, Ala., is one of them. When she and her husband realized their kids wouldn’t be going back to public school in March 2020, they knew they had to make a change.
“It was like a light bulb moment,” Griffin said. “Ultimately, what I realized is that the pandemic just gave us an opportunity to do what we needed to do anyway, which is homeschooling.”
The mother of two said she’d always coached her kids at home to keep them on track. But three things made her decide to officially start homeschooling. First, she wanted her children to be safe from bullies. She also wanted them to understand their cultural history. The third factor was freedom.
“I want to have time to cultivate my children’s African-American, their Nigerian history and culture in them first, before anybody tries to tell them who they are,” Griffin said. COVID was the catalyst, “but it has not been the reason that we kept going.”