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Change in Education: how the pandemic shifted attitudes towards homeschooling

Change in Education: how the pandemic shifted attitudes towards homeschooling

Prior to the pandemic, homeschooling was considered a niche option.

Reserved for the more ‘alternative’ or the super-rich, it wasn’t an education route considered by many parents. However, school closures brought education into the home for the first time and parents began to gain more insight into their children’s studies – like it or not! For many this changed attitudes around alternatives to mainstream education and the number of young people being home schooled post pandemic has seen a huge rise, worldwide.

According to BBC research, there was a 75.6% rise overall in home education between September 2020 and April 2021, compared with averages from the previous two school years. Every region of the UK saw at least a 50% rise in pupils being homeschooled, according to local councils. Meanwhile in the US, the Census Bureau reported that homeschooling rates have doubled since 2020.

So, what has prompted this dramatic change in attitudes? And what are the benefits of homeschooling that parents are seeking?

In order to keep students truly engaged, education has to speak to the student, their interests and their ambitions. This personalisation of lessons and learning plans just isn’t possible in a traditional classroom setting. One of the most obvious benefits of homeschooling and re-claiming control over student’s education, is the ability to explore beyond the traditional curriculum. By teaching science through Minecraft, for example, maths through robotics, or creative writing through video game development, traditional education begins to hold a student’s attention while encompassing future skills in an exciting way.

It also means being able to introduce new subjects that support new and emerging careers, such as blockchain and entrepreneurship. Driving creativity and curiosity is key when it comes to education and these skilled can be developed on another level when students are being schooled one on one. Students get the chance to explore the answers to their questions which can go way beyond the basic curriculum and core content, such as looking at quantum mechanics at GCSE level, for example, which is highly beneficial for their future studies. There is also the opportunity for cross-curriculum learning, where different subjects are combined into one lesson, which allows students to explore ideas in a new way and see the connections between all subjects.

A challenge for teachers in a classroom is setting a pace that is right for all students, with the inevitability of some getting left behind and others being limited as to how in-depth they can explore a subject or topic. The benefit of homeschooling is that students can take subjects at their own pace. They have the advantage of time and more in-depth explanation around topics they struggle to get to grips with and the privilege of exploring the subjects that capture their interest and imagination in more depth.

The flexibility of homeschooling not only relates to the pace of teaching but also what can be achieved in certain timeframes. With no set timelines, students with a short deadline can complete qualifications more quickly, or just catch up on subjects they need. If a student has been out of school they may have a certain level of knowledge, but not enough to complete the qualification. Putting them into the traditional system would mean them having to cover topics they are already familiar with, but with homeschooling, they can efficiently plug the gaps on knowledge they need and move forward with their education.

This flexibility also applies to location. With more parents working remotely, homeschooling options mean they are no longer tied to one location. They can study and travel on the go – which brings about many more learning opportunities beyond the classroom.

Self-led learning is a skill that young people really harness as a homeschooling student. By taking ownership of their studies, they gain independence and build confidence which are key skills for life post academia. Other ‘softer’ skills, such as time management and multi-tasking, are highly beneficial when entering higher education and the workplace. In a homeschooling environment, young people are likely to be practicing these at a much earlier stage which gives them a huge advantage as they progress through life.

Homeschooling offers much more opportunity for one-to-one support which is a real privilege for students. Whether this is parents delivering a learning plan or a tutor or online support, there are many ways that a remote education can be delivered.

Online learning is more popular than ever, and even leading education institutions such as Harrow and Charterhouse have taken their courses online to make top tier education more accessible to more students. As technology advances, the quality of remote study and homeschooling increases dramatically. However, what is missing with the options is real personalisation of lessons and plans. Carfax Education is set to launch The Online School in 2022, which is the first platform to bridge the gap between accessible and tailored remote education. Moving away from standardised lesson plans, The Online School will offer pupils the chance to build their own plans – with as much or as little one to one support as they like, to fit their budget and ambition.

What the pandemic has really taught us is how much is possible online, and education is no exception. The growth of this space is not expected to stop any time soon. It is estimated that by 2030 the global education market will be worth $10 trillion. As we learnt to navigate this new online space that changes in attitudes have brought, the future of education and the opportunities to come are an exciting movement to be part of.

AuthorCarl Morris, Co-Founder and Principal, The Online School, by Carfax Education

Carfax Education is a leading global education group, providing expert consultancy, tutoring and homeschooling services across the world. Carfax works with families and schools to secure exceptional opportunities in education and offers specialist support through Carfax Consultants, Carfax Tutors and Carfax College. For more information visit