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Exclusive AP data reveals popularity of US homeschooling

In this undated photo provided by Dalaine Bradley, From left, Ahmad Waller, 11, Zion Waller, 10, and Drew Waller, 7, study together during homeschooling in Raleigh, N.C., in an undated photo provided by Dalaine Bradley. Data gathered by AP shows large numbers of families sticking with homeschooling despite schools reopening and the availability of COVID vaccines.(Courtesy Dalaine Bradley via AP)

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Education team reporter Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, New York, obtained data across the country to establish the continued popularity of homeschooling for American families — even as schools reopened and vaccines became widely available.

Many families are sticking with homeschooling arrangements that were widely expected to be short-lived, with important implications for school funding and the significant number of students who will remain outside the influence and oversight of school systems.

Because the federal government does not have a current database of homeschooling numbers, Thompson built her own by reaching out to education departments in all 50 states for their data. She also interviewed families for their perspectives on homeschooling, and used her experience on the education beat to put the trend in the context of homeschooling regulation debates, concerns over neglected students and a broader decline of public school enrollment.

Thompson’s reporting documented the homeschooling boom in far greater detail than AP’s competitors that relied only on limited limited survey data by the U.S. Census.

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