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Are your local homeschool groups disproportionately anti-vax?


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I feel like mine are about 50% anti-vax, which has affected choices I've made while pregnant and will surely continue to affect them with covid vaccine rollouts.   The local groups seem to be about even amongst Protestant, Catholic, and secular subgroups.  I'm in the midwest.  I'm just curious if this is a nationwide thing or perhaps my perception is skewed by some groups being more vocal.  What's it like by you?

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This is a problem here too. We're in Arizona. This comes from a state database and shows the percentage of kindergartners who have received the MMR vaccine. This is for a homeschool enrichment program offered by a local school district.  

 

 

School name

Address County School type Does the school have a nurse? Number of kindergartners Percent of students with MMR vaccine Percent exempt from MMR vaccine Percent without MMR vaccineDescending    
Eagleridge Enrichment Program 1313 W Medina Ave, Mesa AZ 85202 Maricopa Public Yes 77 48.1% 51.9% 51.9%
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I really don’t know. The anti vax crowd is very loud so it seems like the majority. But it may not be. I have not told any local homeschoolers that we got the Covid vax. When we go for our flu shot at the grocery store every year we always joke about who is going to be the lookout so we don’t get outed as vaxxers. So it may just be the the anti vaxxers are the loudest and that others are quietly vaccinating. 
 

There are multiple pediatricians in town that don’t require patients to vaccinate. Where I moved from all the pediatricians required vaccinations by a certain age (allowing for delayed schedules). So the anti-vax population seems significant. 

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In my area- they are either anti-everything or we need proof of every vaccine/medical/ and whatever else you can think of ( this group was my first type of homeschool group I encountered and it really turned my opinions of groups down). We do have a few that are a mix of anti vax/medical choice.  
 

 

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Not sure about anti-vaxx per se, but there’s an overwhelming number of anti-maskers and anti-quarantine types in all 4 of the local HS coops I’ve looked into. Therefore, I haven’t gotten integrated into them enough to actually find out if they are anti-vaxxers or not, but I would be extremely surprised if they got vaccinated. As these local HS coops are my only experience with homeschool groups, I was quite amazed to see “so many” people on this forum supportive of masking, and getting vaccinated. 

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For the sake comparison, here are the vaccination stats for the public elementary school that is literally right next door to the homeschool enrichment program. There is obviously a huge difference in vaccination rates, homeschooled 48% compared to public school 88%. 

School nameAscending Address County School type Does the school have a nurse? Number of kindergartners Percent of students with MMR vaccine Percent exempt from MMR vaccine Percent without MMR vaccine    
Franklin At Alma Elementary 1313 W Medina Ave, Mesa AZ 85202 Maricopa Public Yes 57 87.7% 12.3% 12.3%
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I'm not sure anti-vaxers would speak up if they were.  As far as I know my homeschool groups aren't populated by anti-vaxers but we don't ask for vaccine records.  I purposely seek out secular, inclusive groups that are more academic-minded and focused on  the kids leaving their homeschool years prepared for college.  I can't imagine the proudly anti-vax crowd would be drawn to this type of group.  

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No, pretty much the opposite. We just had to survey our co-op and most tied returning to in person activities to vaccine access.  And we've all been online for the past year.  

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My local homeschool group is easily 90%+ anti-vaxxer. I was one of 2 families that vaccinated.  There was one other parent that spoke out about the anti-vaccine stuff being posted, and they were shouted down and chased off.  The group members are also overwhelmingly anti-mask, "covid is a hoax/no worse than the flu".  I looked and looked for a group within an hour's drive of me that matched my concerns about Covid, and could not find one. 

The local groups near me also super anti-college.  I envy those of you that have co-ops and groups that value education.  

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I don't think they are locally to me, but we live in a community with a higher than usual percentage of people employed in medical and scientific jobs. 

When I lived in a larger metro area, I felt like the religious homeschool groups had more anti-vax people than the general population, but it didn't seem as high as 50% by any means.  Secular groups we were involved in could really go either way -- if they were "crunchy/natural" types of secular groups, there were probably more anti-vax families than the religious groups, but more academic secular groups seemed on par with our community in general.  Some of this is conjecture based on group conversations, but it's definitely the type of thing that comes up in conversation when you have a bunch of homeschool parents hanging around.  Unless there were more anti-vax types than I realized because they weren't being upfront about it (that's possible too I suppose).

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Like someone said, the anti-vaxxers are very vocal, so they feel like the majority.  However, I think they are less than 50% here.  I base that on the fact that whenever anyone asks for pediatrician recommendations, a lot of people use the very big peds practice that has a policy that kids must be vaxxed to be a part of their practice.  I personally avoided that practice on purpose because while, we do vax, I do not want my kids to get the gardisil vax.

Edited by athena1277
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They are predominately anti-mask, but I am not sure on their position on vaccines yet. I know a few are very concerned the vaccines will be mandated for their kids & they will seek a religious exemption if so.

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I tried to join a local homeschool group when I started because of Covid, but they were too many vocal anti-vax and anti-max.  I just could not handle it, so didn't join. You guys are my homeschool support. 

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I have no idea what the local climate in our local homeschooling groups are, if there are any local groups. But I do run into people all the time that believe you have to homeschool if you don't vax. They are anywhere from aghast to disbelieving to find out that you can enroll your unvaccinated child in any public school with the right paperwork. Or that you can question or even decline anything the schools say really.

We don't fit in with the vaxxers or the anti-vaxxers, so for the most part, I just keep a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on the whole subject. Safer that way because it can get nasty on both sides.

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I'm not sure but probably.  There seems to be a huge overlap between the anti-vaxxers and the anti-maskers and we have a large group of pretty vocal anti-maskers among homeschoolers around here.   Also, it's not that easy to get a vaccine exemption for public school here (NJ) so most anti-vaxxers either do private school or homeschool.  

Most of my regular contact with other homeschoolers is through classes I teach.  I teach secular science and require masks, so I'm mainly seeing secular homeschoolers who are willing to mask for an hour class even if they don't think its necessary or worthwhile.  Since it's basically the law here, I don't have people arguing with me about the masks.  They wear them or they don't do my classes.   I did lose a lot of students from previous years because of the masks and again, there seems to be a big overlap with the crunchy anti-vaxxers. 

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1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

For the sake comparison, here are the vaccination stats for the public elementary school that is literally right next door to the homeschool enrichment program. There is obviously a huge difference in vaccination rates, homeschooled 48% compared to public school 88%. 

School nameAscending Address County School type Does the school have a nurse? Number of kindergartners Percent of students with MMR vaccine Percent exempt from MMR vaccine Percent without MMR vaccine    
Franklin At Alma Elementary 1313 W Medina Ave, Mesa AZ 85202 Maricopa Public Yes 57 87.7% 12.3% 12.3%

That is similar to our rates.  My state allows a philosophical exemption, so it probably doesn't push the anti-vaxers toward homeschooling in the same way it does in states without it (or with more hurdles to get exemption.)

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Yes, they are. Partially because NY passed a law requiring vaccines in schools except for medical reasons (they got rid of the religious exemption, I think) and so all the anti-vaxxers got dumped into homeschool groups. 

I'm sure it was very prevalent before, too, but it's definitely currently out of control. 

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Not vaccinating was common in my homeschool groups - way more common than the norm for my city, which has high childhood vaccination rates.

It correlated with not registering to homeschool but going under the radar. Also with unschooling and other 'crunchy' practices. 

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1 minute ago, Melissa Louise said:

Not vaccinating was common in my homeschool groups - way more common than the norm for my city, which has high childhood vaccination rates.

It correlated with not registering to homeschool but going under the radar. Also with unschooling and other 'crunchy' practices. 

Yeah, it was also super common in my babywearing groups -- as you say, it's a "crunchy" thing. 

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2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Yeah, it was also super common in my babywearing groups -- as you say, it's a "crunchy" thing. 

Which is a bit weird when you yourself are a crunchy mum who vaccinates her kids! I have bitten my tongue through more meetups than I can count. 

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Just now, Melissa Louise said:

Which is a bit weird when you yourself are a crunchy mum who vaccinates her kids! I have bitten my tongue through more meetups than I can count. 

Yep. Sounds very familiar. I babywore and did infant potty training and I did baby-led weaning, and I vaccinated 😉 . And people would assume I didn't. 

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2 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

I'm not sure anti-vaxers would speak up if they were.  As far as I know my homeschool groups aren't populated by anti-vaxers but we don't ask for vaccine records.  I purposely seek out secular, inclusive groups that are more academic-minded and focused on  the kids leaving their homeschool years prepared for college.  I can't imagine the proudly anti-vax crowd would be drawn to this type of group.  

You'd be surprised. I know more than one homeschooler who ticks all these boxes and still does not vaccinate (and not for health related reasons, because I've had it out with those women! )

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1 minute ago, Melissa Louise said:

You'd be surprised. I know more than one homeschooler who ticks all these boxes and still does not vaccinate (and not for health related reasons, because I've had it out with those women! )

I know at least two who I like and am relatively friendly with. I'm sure there are MANY more. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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Weirdly, most of the anti Vax homeschoolers I'm still in touch with are not anti mask or anti social distancing. But that's probably a self-selecting group!

I can only count one total fruit loop of my acquaintance, who believes it's all a government plot to take away our freedoms. 

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Just now, Melissa Louise said:

Weirdly, most of the anti Vax homeschoolers I'm still in touch with are not anti mask or anti social distancing. But that's probably a self-selecting group!

I can only count one total fruit loop of my acquaintance, who believes it's all a government plot to take away our freedoms. 

My anti-mask, "COVID is a hoax" ex-friend is pro-vaccine. Don't ask how this makes sense, because I also don't know. 

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

I know at least two who I like and am relatively friendly with. I'm sure there are MANY more. 

A close friend - expat American, progressive, highly educated, urban, intelligent, academic homeschooler - only accidentally revealed she didn't vax. Basically, she rejected the common good argument as 'for the plebs'. I was speechless. Would never have expected it from her. 

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2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

My anti-mask, "COVID is a hoax" ex-friend is pro-vaccine. Don't ask how this makes sense, because I also don't know. 

That's weird. 

At least my fruit loop is consistent! Her child is in my current affairs discussion class. We discussed vaccines 🙂

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When I was part of a co-op years ago my boys were not fully vaccinated, mostly due to severe vaccine reactions.  It was not something that was asked about or really discussed that I can remember.  I do not consider myself anti-vax; I am cautious vax.

However, my DD was part of an homeschool art group for several years in high school.  The ones she keeps in touch with are mostly anti-vax and Covid is a hoax sort.  It has made it so she is starting to unfriend some of them.  It isn't just the anti-vax stand, it is the making fun of people who take this stuff seriously that is getting to her.

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The majority of our homeschool groups are alternative vax vs. anti-vax.  Some do it on a different schedule while some do certain vaccinations but not others.  We certainly have those that vax according to the recommended schedule while others don't vax at all.  We have quite a few families in the homeschool co-op I attend the most that have vaccine injuries with their first and have chosen to not pursue any further vaccinating for that child or subsequent.

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I won’t say that the majority are anti-vax  because I don’t know. I do know that the only anti-Vaxxers I knew before covid were homeschoolers. But it’s not something we ever talked about in the homeschool groups I was in. I just know from Facebook.

now of course I know several people who are anti-covid vax for various reasons, some of which I feel are more valid than others. One person, who had no problem with vaccination her kids for years because the school told her she had to suddenly feels like she doesn’t like being told what to do, so doesn’t want the covid vax. I roll my eyes so hard every time I think of it.

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3 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

For the sake comparison, here are the vaccination stats for the public elementary school that is literally right next door to the homeschool enrichment program. There is obviously a huge difference in vaccination rates, homeschooled 48% compared to public school 88%. 

School nameAscending Address County School type Does the school have a nurse? Number of kindergartners Percent of students with MMR vaccine Percent exempt from MMR vaccine Percent without MMR vaccine    
Franklin At Alma Elementary 1313 W Medina Ave, Mesa AZ 85202 Maricopa Public Yes 57 87.7% 12.3% 12.3%

I was looking to see if there was a sample size difference, but I was surprised that the total number of kindergartners in the enrichment program exceeded the number in the public kindergarten.

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No I don't think so though my area is so generally anti vax it would hard for the homeschoolers to be proportionally more.  It definitely seems to lineup more politically than anything here 

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4 hours ago, TexasProud said:

I tried to join a local homeschool group when I started because of Covid, but they were too many vocal anti-vax and anti-max.  I just could not handle it, so didn't join. You guys are my homeschool support. 

Me too!!!!

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2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

My anti-mask, "COVID is a hoax" ex-friend is pro-vaccine. Don't ask how this makes sense, because I also don't know. 

Digressing a little, but my step-mom is a bit like your ex-friend.  She has resisted wearing a mask this whole time and proclaimed that she believes in "faith not fear" and then got the vaccine back in Jan.  Then she posted the other day on Facebook, "Silver Sneakers for the first time!  Exercising in a Mask is no problem for me."  I was dumbstruck.  

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I've homeschooled for 21 years in one of the biggest homeschooling communities in the US for 18 of them.  It's never come up.  It's come up in other groups, but not homeschooling groups.

The homeschool group/co-op (private classes)  I've been in for the last 3 years since our moved to virtual classes as soon as COVID hit as a precaution. We have a lot of multi-generational and minority families.  My daughter's ASL class (not part of the homeschool support group) was virtual until today where it was socially distanced outside at a park. ASL has a very large facial expression component, so masking doesn't work for a class. Vaxxing hasn't ever come up in that class either.

For the record, I was alternative vax-when my kids were young 20+ years ago we didn't vax, but when measles numbers went up, we did. When my girls started cc early they were vaxxed, except for middle daughter who was immunocompromised, so her immunologist had her on a custom alternate schedule.  Youngest was adopted internationally, so she was fully vaxxed on S.Korea's schedule from birth then on the US schedule after arrival here. (They're different in different countries.)

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5 hours ago, MissLemon said:

The local groups near me also super anti-college.  I envy those of you that have co-ops and groups that value education.  

Let me guess, they also complain about how liberal tech and other degree dependent fields are liberal. Hmmm....I wonder if discouraging children of conservatives from getting degrees and going into those fields is in any way related....

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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I'd be shocked if there's any open homeschool group (not like, a small, closed, intentional co-op around a central issue, but any large scale group that's relatively open to join, whether or a forum or Facebook group or whatever) that's NOT disproportionately anti-vax. Like, my local groups are mostly pretty good - a few of them are actually pretty clamped down on vax discussion at all. But I'm sure even though they're majority pro-vax that they're still more anti-vax than the general local population. Because homeschoolers are weirdos. Spoken as a weirdo too, just not an anti-science one.

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43 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I'd be shocked if there's any open homeschool group (not like, a small, closed, intentional co-op around a central issue, but any large scale group that's relatively open to join, whether or a forum or Facebook group or whatever) that's NOT disproportionately anti-vax. Like, my local groups are mostly pretty good - a few of them are actually pretty clamped down on vax discussion at all. But I'm sure even though they're majority pro-vax that they're still more anti-vax than the general local population. Because homeschoolers are weirdos. Spoken as a weirdo too, just not an anti-science one.

Exactly. Anything "alternative" will attract anti-science folks, because they also tend to be "alternative." 

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I think there is a lot don't ask/don't tell about vaccinations in any parenting group. The big difference between groups for homeschooled kids and groups for public schooled kids is that the latter are required to be vaccinated to attend school (subject to different allowed exemptions). 

I used to belong to a Facebook group for Orthodox Christian women. Two subjects were completely off limits; headcoverings and vaccinations. 

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I don't really mind seeing the vax stuff posted.  A lot of times it's a request for a doctor who is ok with anti-vax.  (I think it's sort of helpful to know which doctors will have disproportionately large numbers of unvaccinated kids in their waiting room.)  They can all post whatever they want on their personal fb pages though, so it tends to end up in feeds anyway.  What I don't like is having it come up in person because "pass-the-bean-dip" is often ineffective.

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1 hour ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Let me guess, they also complain about how liberal tech and other degree dependent fields are liberal. Hmmm....I wonder if discouraging children of conservatives from getting degrees and going into those fields is in any way related....

Last I heard, tech is "socialist" and/or in cahoots with Big Pharma and Big Government to enslave us all.  Colleges are liberal and have a "gay agenda", although I think that is now a "trans agenda". 🙄

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In CA, there's more anti-vax population in the homeschooling community because of the laws on the books that have made vax a requirement for public school enrollment. Getting a medical exemption is not simple especially since they are investigating doctors who are writing too many medical exemptions. If those laws weren't on the books, many of these families would not be homeschooling. I will say that it's a banned topic in the local group I moderate because the discussions are never discussions. It gets ugly really fast. That's why discussions about Covid/social distancing are also banned. There are enough people who can't have a civil discussion that it basically ruins it for everyone. 

 

Edited by calbear
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6 hours ago, athena1277 said:

 I personally avoided that practice on purpose because while, we do vax, I do not want my kids to get the gardisil vax.

I haven't noticed that one being required from the health group I am in even though they require vax. I turned it down twice already.

 

Edited by calbear
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3 hours ago, Farrar said:

I'd be shocked if there's any open homeschool group (not like, a small, closed, intentional co-op around a central issue, but any large scale group that's relatively open to join, whether or a forum or Facebook group or whatever) that's NOT disproportionately anti-vax. Like, my local groups are mostly pretty good - a few of them are actually pretty clamped down on vax discussion at all. But I'm sure even though they're majority pro-vax that they're still more anti-vax than the general local population. Because homeschoolers are weirdos. Spoken as a weirdo too, just not an anti-science one.

This is why I'm not so sure.  The homeschoolers I've spent almost two decades with are so insanely pro-science that it's hard to see them as anti-vax.  However, local homeschooling has taken a bit of a strange turn with this next crop of homeschooling moms so I don't know what to think any more. Maybe I'm getting old and cranky, but I swear they're getting flakier and flakey is a gateway to anti-vax level weirdness.

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On 4/8/2021 at 7:48 PM, Farrar said:

I'd be shocked if there's any open homeschool group (not like, a small, closed, intentional co-op around a central issue, but any large scale group that's relatively open to join, whether or a forum or Facebook group or whatever) that's NOT disproportionately anti-vax. Like, my local groups are mostly pretty good - a few of them are actually pretty clamped down on vax discussion at all. But I'm sure even though they're majority pro-vax that they're still more anti-vax than the general local population. Because homeschoolers are weirdos. Spoken as a weirdo too, just not an anti-science one.

Golly, I have to raise a hand here.  The anti-science thing is a hasty generalization. There are many anti-vaxxers/vaccine hesitant people who are very much into the science, me included.  Some of my favorite vaccine hesitant, vaccine questioning people are pediatricians. In fact, it was my midwife and my pediatrician (chief of staff at a large metroplex hospital) who looked at our vaccine reaction and shook their heads, with the pediatrician saying, "We probably shouldn't do that with X again." The ped went on to a much more vaccine hesitant stance over the years, and no, you wouldn't know him. (He's not a national name.) 

Edited by Halftime Hope
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It's been awhile since we were involved in a homeschool group (my kids are adults now), but at the time, I knew of only one family for sure that was anti-vax.  Although I wouldn't be surprised if there were more than that, I'm still quite certain that the vast majority vaccinated their kids.

The Covid vaccine is different though because it's become political...  So I really don't know how that same group would feel about it this vaccine.  I know some would definitely still have the vaccine, but probably not as many as pre-2020.

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I'm not very involved in the local co-ops other than reading FB posts or knowing a few people in them, but I would say they are definitely not anti-vax! I really only know one anti-vax homeschooler. The other homeschoolers or former homeschoolers I know are either very pro-vax (one's dh is director of our health department) or have changed their mind over the years and are now pro-vax. I think it's a generalization that's more likely to be based on your local community.

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