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Homeschooling increased during the pandemic and now families continue to stay the course

Posted at 5:59 PM, Sep 29, 2021

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — We are launching a new series aimed at highlighting solutions and showcasing different perspectives across our nation and especially here in metro Detroit.

It's called Two Americas.

We've been through a lot together. And while sometimes we don't see eye-to-eye - so often we all want what's best for our community.

That means having conversations and listening to others.

Our hope is to introduce you to people and parts of metro Detroit you might not be familiar with - and to bring you different points of view.

It's not about changing minds - or pitting two sides against one another. It's about understanding

“Let’s do science,” said Yolanda Williams.

“We can separate the circulatory, digestive, and nervous system,” Williams said to her son.

The subjects...still traditional. The setting, however, is new territory.

Pretty easy to see that this isn’t a standard classroom. The teacher is a working mom and the student? Her son.

After not one, but two home-bound school years, most parents were clamoring to get their kids back into a school building but not Yolanda Williams.

“I have a background in education, and this was the extra push I needed to say, hey let’s do it,” explained Williams.

With son Mason’s blessing, Williams withdrew her 4th grader entirely from the public school system, a decision that began with a desire to avoid a repeat of some experiences endured by her older son.

“Kids were bullying and picking on him based on his race,” said Williams.

But quickly evolved into a quest for stability and the hope of exposing her children to the kind of education you can only get outside of the classroom including exposure to what mom does for a living as a small business owner of a skincare line.

“For us having a building and a space for us to do business, and my kid can work here, he can see what we do, they can help and participate,” said Williams.

Yolanda--just one of several parents, across Metro Detroit taking a more permanent jump into the non-traditional.

“We love the academic flexibility. We love the cultural ways that we’re able to affirm and support one another,” said Raven Jones Stanbrough.

Raven Jones Stanbrough says after a year of virtual learning with limited resources, daughter Zuri Hudson asked that mom be the teacher.

“Do you think you’ll ever want to go back into the school?” WXYZ’s Ameera David asked.

“No, no, no, no ,no,” said Zuri Hudson.

The Michigan Department of Education says 290 home schools were on its radar in the academic year that began in 2019. By the time the pandemic hit in 2020, that number had more than doubled to 794.

National School Choice Week ---both tracking and welcoming the shift.

“Families are evaluating their education options and making choices based on what is best for their children,” said Andrew Campanella from National School Choice Week.

The organization says the face of education is changing as is the face of homeschooling itself - the census showing the proportion of black homeschooling increasing five-fold last year.

“There’s stereotypes - there's this narrative that might be out there because we come from where we come from or look the way we look. We’re here to just unpack all of that and to just share our experiences and our stories,” said Jones Stanbrough.

State of Michigan Homeschool requirements

Michigan Home School Law