Is COVID-19 creating a new wave of “professional home-schooling”?

I was intrigued by a tweet from David Webb a few days ago:

I found it intriguing because I’ve been hearing “through the grapevine” of similar things happening in at least three other states.  More and more groups of families are banding together to hire a retired teacher, or one whom they trust who’s just worn out by the school system bureaucracy and political correctness, to be a shared mentor and teacher to their children.  The costs per family are reasonable;  the kids get a quality education through their home-schooling curriculum, administered by someone who knows how to get through to them;  and the teacher, while not making as much money as if in the school system, nevertheless earns a living.  (If the arrangement is “under the counter”, with payment in cash and/or in kind, not officially recorded, with no deductions, the teacher may actually be better off financially.  Whether it’s good to be “off the books” as far as Social Security and other factors are concerned is another matter, of course.)

I think this is one way that some parents are addressing the crisis pointed out by the Wall Street Journal.

Working parents going on six months without school or camp are about to take another hit: rising child-care costs.

Parents with school-age children are hiring sitters or paying for online classes they wouldn’t need if their children were in school. Some are lining up tutors or switching to private schools that plan to open for in-person learning. Parents with younger children are bracing for potentially higher charges at their day cares, which are straining to pay for protective gear and additional cleaning.

Child care and its costs might seem incidental in a global pandemic, but they are integral to the economy. For individual families, higher child-care expenses can range from troublesome to financially debilitating. Rising costs divert money from other purchases or investments, and many working parents said child-care costs prevent them from saving for a home. Yet without child care, parents are less productive at work—not to mention more stressed and tired.

“Here’s the deal,” said Misty Heggeness, an economist who wrote about the pandemic’s effect on working mothers for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. “If you care about U.S. economic growth … this should be one of the first areas of concern for you.”

. . .

Even under normal circumstances, paying for child care can be a struggle. Day care for a single child can easily cost $10,000 a year—about the average price of tuition and fees for a year at a public, in-state university—and more in big cities. The cost of child care and nursery school has risen at roughly twice the pace of inflation since 2000, according to the federal Consumer Price Index.

As the pandemic drags on, more parents are in the market for child-care services. School-age children now need sitters during the day. Many day cares have closed. Grandparents can’t fly in.

. . .

There isn’t definitive data yet on how much parents are paying for child care in the pandemic. But many companies and policy makers have been slow to grasp that child care is in crisis, economists say.

There’s more at the link.

The next question, of course, is how the education establishment will move to counter this trend.  The politically correct school boards and teachers’ unions won’t want to let go of any of their influence (not to mention funding).  I expect to see restrictions imposed on parents’ freedom of choice in this regard, perhaps demanding official licensing of such private tutors, or imposing “approved” syllabi that must be both endorsed by the school board and tested by regular examinations, or demanding commercial regulation (and insurance) of buildings used for the purpose, effectively blocking parents from using their homes for joint education of their children.

The same active interference is visible in some efforts to block parents from sending their children to charter or private schools, as Reason reports.

… in Los Angeles, the teachers union is exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to prevent competition from charter schools, which are seeing a surge of new applicants from desperate parents.

The United Teachers Los Angeles co-signed a document with nine other unions and the Democratic Socialists of America calling for a moratorium on all new charter schools and private voucher programs. A union-backed bill signed into law last October might accomplish that, as it gives local school boards more power to stop new charter schools from opening and existing ones from renewing their charters.

“It’s about protecting a monopoly from losing any students and the funding that goes along with those students,” says Corey DeAngelis, director of school choice at the Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes Reason TV.

He says entrenched interests are trying to stop families from exercising choice.

“If you really care about students and their safety, you should want more options for more students to be able to spread out in different locations,” says DeAngelis. “And this doesn’t do that. But what it does do is it allows the teachers unions to block students from switching to their competition.”

. . .

Oregon and Pennsylvania have also cut off additional funding for charter schools. DeAngelis points to comments from the president of the state’s association of school administrators in Pennsylvania, who stated his intention to handicap virtual charter schools.

“We’re seeing this in a lot of different places, and it’s putting the system in front of the needs of families—and in the worst time possible,” says DeAngelis.

Again, more at the link.  I expect similar steps to be taken to block expanded home-schooling opportunities, particularly because a backlash against established school districts appears to be growing.  (In New York city, for example, a headline reads “Remote-only school requests jump by 40,000 in one week“.  I expect a large number of those requests may be linked to and/or a precursor for expanded home schooling.)

More and more, this is becoming an issue of parents’ rights and individual freedom.  The “nanny state”, the bureaucrats and statists, want to control everything and everyone.  The fruit of their efforts may be seen in the demonstrators, protesters and rioters on our streets.  They’ve been “educated” in the “system”, to the point of blind ignorance and arrant stupidity.  They don’t know how to think for themselves – they can only parrot progressive talking points, without understanding the culture, the rationale or the economics behind them.

Parents who embrace home schooling and/or charter and private schools automatically remove their children from that pernicious influence.  That’s why I expect the education establishment to mobilize every resource it can to block such growing moves towards independence, and to fight with might and main to keep their stranglehold on the youth of America.  I think it’s in all our best interests that they fail.

Bureaucrats certainly won’t allow the system they’ve created to be reformed.  Therefore, as far as I’m concerned, let them wither on the vine.  Let good parents everywhere “opt out” of a failed system, and build a better one.



  1. I've seen Christian business advisers suggest creating a home day care, or a private school like this as a way to make income and help people at the same time.

    A HUGE number of families are considering home schooling due to the ever changing arbitrary diktats of state and local governments. Many of the diktats are only loosely tied to reality and are provably false medically…
    I too wonder what will happen if a large number of families follow through on home schooling – My local school district keeps pushing for more money and won't explain clearly why they need it; I suspect that when their student numbers drop, they'll use it as an excuse to push for even more!
    Homeschooling is currently legal in every state, but in some areas local schools and even local police are fighting it hard and violating state law in the process – unfortunately I'm sure reduced enrollment is going to lead to them going further overboard…

    Teacher's unions act like Charter Schools are the only threat, but homeschooling is a FAR larger threat.

  2. Looking at childcare costs. In the area where I live they have been expensive for a long time. 4 years ago I was a single parent and looking at going back to work. One week of child care unsubsidised was approximately $350. Not much right? Well, two weeks of child care would have taken my entire pay cheque at that time. Subsidized day care was a massive waiting list if you could get it that is. I had to tender my resignation to work and live on social assitance until my child was able to enter school.
    Now with the way things are things are worse. My child is special needs and day care spaces have been limited due to covid-19. Not to mention that properly regulated day cares aren't really that numerous. Lot of families are scrambling for help even when school goes back. Just imagine if things get locked down again. People are going to need income and they won't be able to find that help.

  3. The cost/benefit balance has been tilting away from "two incomes and childcare" to "one income and a stay-at-home" for decades. I suspect that, like a lot of trends, COVID will only accelerate this tendency.

    Meanwhile, there's no need to regard the opposition of teacher's unions to any form of schooling other than public as some kind of socialistic plot to control the youth of America, though there's doubtless some twirling their moustaches and cackling about it. No, it's just plain organizational politics–they see their power being threatened, and they don't like it.

  4. Let the working moms do all the math. They may realize that they're eating the evil queen's poisoned apple, and poor Snow White is working to buy more poisoned apples.

    Check the laws regarding education in your state, not the regulations or diktat. Teacher unions want nothing to upset their steady stream of dues, and their political and feathered plans for that money.

  5. Peter: regarding the email exchange we had a few months back, last Sunday I was Received and Confirmed in the Catholic Church. Thanks again for your counsel.

    To the topic at hand, my church runs a school which is primarily for home-schoolers to teach subjects that the parents don't feel equipped to teach, like music and foreign languages, but also higher-level math, history, etc. This fall enrollment is at an all-time high. And of course the children aren't filled with PC nonsense.

    As for what the education system will do, I predict that the politicians and unions will conspire to make sure the union members are paid to sit in empty classrooms (look up NYC's "rubber rooms"), the taxpayers will still be on the hook for salaries and pensions for which they gain no benefit, and those same taxpayers will take a double-hit by having to pay for a school system they don't use and for educating their children. This will serve to speed the exodus of people from the cities until the only residents are government employees and welfare recipients, at which point the economics look like a snake eating it's own tail.

    Mark D

  6. This is a huge moment. The American Suburbs have always been huge supporters of their own school districts. In part this is because of the high school sports. But also because they loved their own school years of yore, and the teachers are an institution of the community. Their community goodwill exists across the political spectrum. And the schools had been consistently good at sending their children to good colleges (where applicable).

    But with this pandemic, and the schools' (and unions') resistance for reopening schools, they are turning the parents against the suburban school districts. Some schools are trying to have more flexible options than just All-Virtual Vs All-In-Person, but most are just not capable of that complexity, for a variety of reasons.

    The suburbs make up 52+% of all students, and are a major support for the Teachers Unions AFT & NEA. But now the Suburbs starts turning away from their own School Districts, and indirectly the teachers.

    And the cities are dying. So the Urban teachers will get laid off, too.

    Who knew 2020 is when it all starts.

  7. You don't need a license to teach your children. The state has an approved curriculum and books that you can purchase for ever grade. Friend home-schooled her 4 kids, 2 are in college, 1 graduated this year and was going on a football scholarship and the last one has this final year to go. One of the things was that all the home-schooler's had a co-op where they all met one day a week. Kids had interaction with peers, moms & dads got out of the house and they went to museum, etc. Grandson was teeny tiny little thing in 10th grad with a funny name (have never forgiven my daughter for that) and got bullied all the time so she enrolled him in a self motivated on-line school. Worked fine and he graduated ahead of his class. But along about age 18/19 he shot up to over 6 ft. 10th grad he was 4'10".
    Also, without the indoctrination that they receive in school I bet we won't have nearly so many snowflakes growing up.

  8. The teachers union sounds more like a Guild these days, an organization to protect the trade. Like the AMA is.
    They have to do something or the Education Industry will take a big hit!

  9. My daughter has been teaching for about 15 years and her district is not meeting in class this fall. She's continuing to do what she can on-line but is now tutoring on the side. She's been teaching moderately to severely disabled special ed kids so this new batch of regular students is a snap. She knows the politics, living within walking distance of Arlington Cemetery, but sees this simply as a way to make some additional money. Politics merely created the need and opportunity.

  10. The school in my daughter's neighborhood is mandating exclusively on-line instruction, and has sent out a "schedule" clearly based on the assumption that each child comes equipped with one parent with absolutely nothing to do except to oversee that child's education for 6 hours a day. Furthermore, the schedule is structured in such a way that a kid like my grandson who can zip through the assigned coursework in less than the time allotted doesn't get out early; he is stuck kicking his heels and yawning through the mandated study sessions, just as if he were in a physical school, for the full six hours.

    They've managed to keep all the disadvantages of the old system while creating a whole new set of problems for the new system!

    I think (hope) that we're watching the slow-motion suicide of the teachers' unions.

    On the bright side, online instruction will make it much easier for me to track whether they're pushing inappropriate material like sexual identity propaganda, punishing white kids for their race, or worst of all, Common Core style math. Thanks, school district. I'll be watching you.

  11. All well and good but somehow I don't imagine your school board taxes will be rebated. I never had any kids but my property tax always has had a major component for schools.

  12. If you homeschool (actually homeschool not a public school online option) I highly recommend membership in Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Many benefits including access to expert attorneys for if/when you may be harassed by the CPS/public school industry.

    Also, if CPS does show up on your door, DO NOT grant them access to your home unless they have a warrant.

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