Homeschooling in the US is surging. It is America’s fastest-growing form of education. The number of homeschoolers spiked during COVID and has receded somewhat since. But all told, homeschool numbers are up 51% over the last five years. The surge in homeschooling crosses all lines of politics, geography, and demographics. Nor are families abandoning public education because their district has lackluster academic results. Families are opting out of high-performing school districts as well. This is a sweeping national phenomenon.
More relocating families will be homeschoolers. To assure a smooth transition, families moving within the US should prepare by reviewing the rules and regulations governing homeschooling. No two states are the same. Families might inquire if the destination state is stricter; learn about the requirements and have a plan for compliance; and begin to build community with other homeschool families. Finally, they should discover which school districts are more open to homeschoolers. Some may have a homeschool liaison and make resources available. In some cases, even adjacent school districts may have a very different outlook on home schooling. One school district may be much more open to homeschoolers than a district just five minutes away.
For a homeschool family anticipating an international relocation, preparation is key. Homeschooling may not be legal in the destination country, and even where technically legal, it may be governed by stringent rules and only permitted in very few circumstances. In this case, families should recall the values that led them to homeschool. Were they seeking flexibility or individualized instruction, or was their goal to foster curiosity? It is possible that a school at a destination or a distance learning private school might address preferences. Alternatively, the family may be inclined to consider a brick-and-mortar school, offering a unique opportunity for language learning or for integration into the local or international community, as a desirable part of their expat experience.
Homeschooling numbers are soaring. More transferees will be homeschoolers. Preparing to support these families and their unique schooling requirements will assure a successful relocation and productive assignment.
By Sara Schmidt
Sara R. Schmidt is the Director of Business Development & Client Relations, Co-Director of Private Client Services and a Senior Education Consultant for Bennett International, based in Seattle. As a member of an internationally mobile family, Sara has navigated the school search process for her own children on three continents, finding the right fit for them in public, private and international schools. She is very familiar, therefore, with the anxieties and hurdles faced by parents relocating their children around the world, and her work is informed by her own extensive experience. Sara serves as Trustee and was President of the Bellevue Schools Foundation in Bellevue, WA, and is a member of Pacific Northwest Relocation Council and Bay Area Mobility Management. She holds a B.A. Ed., Summa Cum Laude, from Wheaton College and an M.A. in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School and is also fluent in Spanish.
Over the years, Bennett International Education Consultancyhas worked with hundreds of corporations across the globe, many of them Fortune 500 companies, providing domestic and international school advisement & placement services - preschool through university - to the dependents of relocating employees. In addition to education placement, our team provides customized consulting for corporations with a range of education issues: education policy writing & benchmarking, tuition studies, group move advisement & planning, and remote education solutions.