From homeroom to home: Homeschooling rates soar in the Cape Fear

NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — As the school year begins, many parents are turning to homeschooling for the first time.

Misty Small homeschools her immunocompromised daughter, and says every year 10-15 families join her group, Christian Home Educators of Wilmington. Last year, more families than ever moved from homeroom to home.

“We always have a fluctuation of new people, but we had 100 new people that were new to homeschooling,” Small said. “That’s huge.”

As mask mandates begin and the delta variant soars, the trend continues. Just Thursday, Small met 13 new families with young children.

“Thirteen that had never homeschooled,” Small explained. “That just made the decision within the last week to pull their kids.”

Thought the pandemic continues to affect all facets of life, Small and fellow homeschool parent, Jennifer Holmes said families have a variety of different reasons to keep kids out of the classroom.

“I know for a couple of them it was masks,” Small remembered.
According to Holmes, “They just want their kids to have a solid education. And it seems like with so much constantly changing, that hasn’t been the case in the school systems.”
“There were a couple of moms who had special needs children. And they were very, very concerned of exposure, and then you’re sent home to quarantine. That’s extremely disruptive to a special needs child,” said Small.

If public schools do return to virtual learning, both mothers believe homeschooling will reach an all time high in the Cape Fear.

“I’ve absolutely never been more thankful to already be homeschooling than the last couple years,” Holmes said, relieved.

Last year, homeschool numbers went up almost 20 percent. This year, that number is still rising.

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