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S/o of teens and COVID-has anyone else noticed more kids going back to school this year?


Dmmetler
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Before COVID, we were in a teen group that met up weekly to go places, eat, talk, play games, eat, watch movies, talk, eat, seasonal parties, eat, talk, and eat some more. Most of the kids were 14-16, and all the families planned to homeschool through high school, with a DE class or two. Many had already graduated an older child or two. And, of course, COVID stopped that. We did some things online, and set up a discord server for chatting, but it definitely changed things, especially for the kids not into online gaming. 

 

Fast forward to this fall. Let's just say that it is probably good that my teen graduated because of that group, almost all of them are going to a physical school when they open here tomorrow, as sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Taking compromise classes and lost credits, accepting not being able to get into the music groups and higher level classes that they really wanted due to coming in later. I understand why. Our little secular community stayed online last year when some of the other homeschool groups went back in person. So did the UU church that a lot of this group participates in. The music groups and theater groups largely stayed shuttered (some came back this summer). And for the teens, it was just too much. They need peers more than they need homeschooling.  And the risk of COVID, at this point, is less than the risk of being home without friends another year. 

 

But in some ways, it makes me even sadder than my own teen leaving for college next Sunday, when we drive out for dorm move in. It's not just that L has graduated and is moving on, it's that the entire world I was part of isn't there anymore. I feel very alone. 

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1 hour ago, Dmmetler said:

Before COVID, we were in a teen group that met up weekly to go places, eat, talk, play games, eat, watch movies, talk, eat, seasonal parties, eat, talk, and eat some more. Most of the kids were 14-16, and all the families planned to homeschool through high school, with a DE class or two. Many had already graduated an older child or two. And, of course, COVID stopped that. We did some things online, and set up a discord server for chatting, but it definitely changed things, especially for the kids not into online gaming. 

 

Fast forward to this fall. Let's just say that it is probably good that my teen graduated because of that group, almost all of them are going to a physical school when they open here tomorrow, as sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Taking compromise classes and lost credits, accepting not being able to get into the music groups and higher level classes that they really wanted due to coming in later. I understand why. Our little secular community stayed online last year when some of the other homeschool groups went back in person. So did the UU church that a lot of this group participates in. The music groups and theater groups largely stayed shuttered (some came back this summer). And for the teens, it was just too much. They need peers more than they need homeschooling.  And the risk of COVID, at this point, is less than the risk of being home without friends another year. 

 

But in some ways, it makes me even sadder than my own teen leaving for college next Sunday, when we drive out for dorm move in. It's not just that L has graduated and is moving on, it's that the entire world I was part of isn't there anymore. I feel very alone. 

(((Hug))) I haven’t noticed this, but I can understand how it makes the transition harder.  In our world before covid, it went in waves. Some years a lot of kids went to school and groups dissolved, other years and age cohorts everyone stayed homeschooling. 

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I have noticed that patterns are super shaken up. Kids who were always homeschooled suddenly going to school. Kids who somehow made it through the pandemic so far only now starting homeschooling. It's just all unpredictable.

I think a lot of families are dealing with mental health challenges that come from the pandemic.

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The homeschool Facebook groups here that were pretty large this time last year have lost 50-70% of their members. IRL, everyone I knew who homeschooled for the first time last year put their kids back in public school this fall.  All anecdotal, of course. But I suspect it’s a larger trend.  People didn’t enjoy homeschooling and/or never planned on making it a long term thing.

I have also noticed a lot of lifelong homeschoolers suddenly putting their kids in school this year. Schools here are wide open and many of the homeschool activities still seem to be online or closed.  As you said, I think many people need to be around others more than they need to be homeschooled.

I was raised in the homeschool community where the mantra was always “Socialization is overrated” and “Kids don’t socialize in schools.”  I still see a lot of these attitudes on some of the National homeschool FB groups I follow.  I kind of wonder if we’re seeing the start of a shift away from that attitude.

Edited by Mrs Tiggywinkle
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Our local homeschool groups have exploded with membership. I was kicking around the idea of signing kiddo up for a co-op class, but blinked and the class was full.

I suspect this is going to vary based on area. I am in Texas. 

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I work in a public high school. We don't start until after Labor Day, but I hear our numbers are up, particularly incoming freshmen. I know our district is also continuing an online school one more year for those who want that. It will be interesting to see how the numbers work out when we start.

@MissLemon, I hear you on area-based differences. This is a highly vaccinated area and masks will be required in the school. It feels a little safer than I think it would in Florida or Texas, even though our numbers are going up too.

Edited by Ali in OR
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I'm seeing a mix of things -- families who were homeschooling putting their kids in school (of various ages) because locally there are fewer social opportunities still remaining for homeschoolers.  A couple large co-ops closed down (not completely due to covid, but it may have been a factor).  Other activities still haven't restarted since covid.  But we have a high vaccination rate so it seems like it pretty likely school will continue in-person rather than online.  On the other hand, families that are extremely concerned about covid are still pulling kids to homeschool. Or they are joining our district's new virtual option, but hoping to connect with homeschoolers for advice or social opportunities. 

I have a rising Freshman entering school for the first time, but this was a long-planned transition.  We planned from the beginning to send our kids to public school for high school (unless it was really obvious they didn't want to do this or it was a bad fit for a particular child). 

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21 minutes ago, Ali in OR said:

I work in a public high school. We don't start until after Labor Day, but I hear our numbers are up, particularly incoming freshmen. I know our district is also continuing an online school one more year for those who want that. It will be interesting to see how the numbers work out when we start.

@MissLemon, I hear you on area-based differences. This is a highly vaccinated area and masks will be required in the school. It feels a little safer than I think it would in Florida or Texas, even though our numbers are going up too.

There is a lot of chatter in local groups about vaccine mandates. Even though Texas is unlikely to require anyone to get a Covid vaccine, people are pulling their kids from school because they believe the vaccine will be mandated. 

I only know of one family that pulled their child because school isn't looking safe this year. 

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I get it. My just graduated ds had a very busy homeschool life with 4-H trips and conferences and church group activities. It wasn’t like being in full time school but it was enough social time. 
 

Then Covid. In the spring 2020 everything was shut down but where I live school and school sports and activities came back completely in fall 2020. But 4-H and church didn’t. So ds lost his only outlets while school kids carried on as normal. So it was a stark difference between social opportunities for school kids vs. homeschool. If he had been in school he would have had a mostly normal senior year. 
 

So school kids here really didn’t miss stuff in the 2020-2021 year. My ds took a job at a grocery store to have something to do out of the house. It wasn’t ideal but we got through it. However, if he was younger I would have had to contemplate sending him to school so he could have some normal kid activity if we were facing another year of extras being cancelled. 

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1 hour ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

The homeschool Facebook groups here that were pretty large this time last year have lost 50-70% of their members. IRL, everyone I knew who homeschooled for the first time last year put their kids back in public school this fall.  All anecdotal, of course. But I suspect it’s a larger trend.  People didn’t enjoy homeschooling and/or never planned on making it a long term thing.

I have also noticed a lot of lifelong homeschoolers suddenly putting their kids in school this year. Schools here are wide open and many of the homeschool activities still seem to be online or closed.  As you said, I think many people need to be around others more than they need to be homeschooled.

I was raised in the homeschool community where the mantra was always “Socialization is overrated” and “Kids don’t socialize in schools.”  I still see a lot of these attitudes on some of the National homeschool FB groups I follow.  I kind of wonder if we’re seeing the start of a shift away from that attitude.

I never thought socialization was overrated but always had lots of activities my kids were in- scouting, sports, music,., arrt co=ops, etc.  I was just so happy that all of my kids were done wiith homeschoooling and even college when the pandemic hit.  All three of my adult kids are working from home

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3 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

I get it. My just graduated ds had a very busy homeschool life with 4-H trips and conferences and church group activities. It wasn’t like being in full time school but it was enough social time. 
 

Then Covid. In the spring 2020 everything was shut down but where I live school and school sports and activities came back completely in fall 2020. But 4-H and church didn’t. So ds lost his only outlets while school kids carried on as normal. So it was a stark difference between social opportunities for school kids vs. homeschool. If he had been in school he would have had a mostly normal senior year. 
 

So school kids here really didn’t miss stuff in the 2020-2021 year. My ds took a job at a grocery store to have something to do out of the house. It wasn’t ideal but we got through it. However, if he was younger I would have had to contemplate sending him to school so he could have some normal kid activity if we were facing another year of extras being cancelled. 

I think that's it here, too. The county district stayed remote,but the suburbs went back, and had a mostly normal year. Even things like prom, which schools cancelled were substituted with parent planned events In places 30-60 minutes away that had fewer restrictions than our county did. And the faith based homeschool groups and tutorials mostly were business as usual. For the most part, it was the secular homeschoolers and more inclusive, liberal churches and scouting that stayed remote. So those kids lost everything, and watched most of those around them pretty much have a normal year. And with vaccination, and especially with the health department requiring masks for K-12, the parents are willing to let their kids decide. 

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30 minutes ago, Dmmetler said:

I think that's it here, too. The county district stayed remote,but the suburbs went back, and had a mostly normal year. Even things like prom, which schools cancelled were substituted with parent planned events In places 30-60 minutes away that had fewer restrictions than our county did. And the faith based homeschool groups and tutorials mostly were business as usual. For the most part, it was the secular homeschoolers and more inclusive, liberal churches and scouting that stayed remote. So those kids lost everything, and watched most of those around them pretty much have a normal year. And with vaccination, and especially with the health department requiring masks for K-12, the parents are willing to let their kids decide. 

Yes. The religious homeschool activities continued as did the churches except ours. We were always fish out of water as Catholic homeschoolers and the pandemic drove that home even more. So the other kids had everything available (even proms, concerts, etc). 
My ds was really the only kid we knew who lost all his activities. (I am sure there were others who willingly shut down social stuff for their own reasons) but as far as kids we knew, ds sure saw everyone else marching along as normal. So thankful yo get through the year and looking forward to moving into the dorm Thursday. 

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2 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Our local homeschool groups have exploded with membership. I was kicking around the idea of signing kiddo up for a co-op class, but blinked and the class was full.

I suspect this is going to vary based on area. I am in Texas. 

I'm seeing the same thing here. I'm in Florida. And in this county the public schools start back in two days.

No surprise seeing an increase in homeschooling in these two states. 😞

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4 hours ago, Farrar said:

I have noticed that patterns are super shaken up. Kids who were always homeschooled suddenly going to school. Kids who somehow made it through the pandemic so far only now starting homeschooling. It's just all unpredictable.

I think a lot of families are dealing with mental health challenges that come from the pandemic.

This is the first year I have ever seriously contemplated sending them to school (15yo and 13yo) and it was because the pandemic isolation nearly put us over the edge. Our previous homeschool activities haven’t even all come back yet. We’re doing all online classes instead because our living situation is in flux. The next year, I might send them. It depends how this year goes. 

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5 hours ago, Melissa B said:

I'm seeing the same thing here. I'm in Florida. And in this county the public schools start back in two days.

No surprise seeing an increase in homeschooling in these two states. 😞

Interestingly, New Mexico is also seeing an increase in homeschooling. Everything was shut down for everybody. All extracurriculars were done online. Schools are opening back up, and a lot of families are staying home anyway. 14% of the students that are not returning to our district is starting or continuing to homeschool.

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We are seeing more of an increase in homeschooling around here.   Primarily because masks are going to be required in schools again but the homeschool groups/classes/pods aren't generally requiring them.  

When things were shut down, everything was shut down.   Some homeschool activities, like park days/recess, came back before public activities returned.

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1 hour ago, Wheres Toto said:

We are seeing more of an increase in homeschooling around here.   Primarily because masks are going to be required in schools again but the homeschool groups/classes/pods aren't generally requiring them.  

When things were shut down, everything was shut down.   Some homeschool activities, like park days/recess, came back before public activities returned.

Same.  Most worrisome, I'm seeing a lot of people looking to homeschool their 10th and 11th graders.  They don't want them masked, or vaccinated, and are looking for cheap, hands off education.

I'm a little worried about these kids and their ability to get a decent education without going through the community college.

Activities and pods are back with a vengeance here.  It seems the offerings exploded last year for those who were comfortable meeting in closed spaces.

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I will say, I'm not really up on what is happening with younger kids this year. Or whether new homeschoolers are coming in. I'm just seeing a lot more long-term homeschooled teens going to school this year for the first time.

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I can't speak for our school district. I am not up to speed on their enrollment at the moment, and have been outside the homeschool community for a while. But, I do know enrollment is up a ton at two community colleges and the university closest to us. From what has been said on their social media, it looks like a record number of high schoolers taking D.E. on top of the tuition incentives for essential workers from the state. The D.E. makes sense to me because if a parent is worried about the lack of protocols at the high schools, full time D.E. puts their student either in college classrooms where masks are required and other protocols are in place or in online classes that are way better than what the high schools provide.

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I will say over the years, I have seen LOTS of people with teens who've always said they were in to homeschool for the long haul send their kids off to B&M high school at some point.  I think teens are just different than a lot of people imagine and they really need and crave peer groups in ways younger kids don't and not every parent/kid work together well for homeschooling.  The kids most likely to stick with homeschooling high school here are the kids that qualify for our state's 100% free DE programming OR have other needs that really aren't well served in a B&M school.  

I will say this year and last year there is a lot of back and forth.  Some people completely burned out on having teens at home and teens just NEEDING to get out when homeschool stuff and a lot of extracurricular has been non existent.  And some people are pulling out of school concerned about exposure, or being mask opposed or online wasn't working well, etc.  

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We had two families in our co-op start public school last fall.  It seemed really odd since it was all online until basically May this year and then only a couple hours a day a couple days a week.   It didn’t sound like a good first public school experience, but to each his own. They are staying in public school, so it must have worked out for them.  

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