The New Hampshire Department of Education released preliminary home education student enrollment just prior to the holidays. The enrollment figures are those new homeschooling children who notified the various Participating Agency options across the state: their local public-school districts, the Department of Education, and private schools that offer this service.
The NH DOE’s report shows an increase that more than doubled from the 2019-2020 school year to the current academic year.
Families are required to provide notification to their chosen participating agent within five days of beginning a home education program.
Participating agencies are required to provide enrollment data to the Department of Education as of October 1 of each year. Unlike the reports for public school enrollment, participating agencies only report the new, not the total number of homeschool students who file with them.
Public academies and chartered public schools cannot act as Participating agents to homeschooling families per state law.
What Does This Data Mean
Families across the state are responding to the uncertainty of Covid by taking control over their children’s learning and filed as homeschoolers this year.
Although GSHE hopes these families experience and enjoy the full benefits of home education, it is widely speculated that many will return to their local public schools once protocols are more satisfactory to their family’s needs.
Many experienced homeschooling families are guarded about additional regulation efforts because districts experienced major enrollment drops, and that will decrease their state funding for the 2021-2022 school year.
From the very beginning, when Covid initially closed schools around the state and country, GSHE was committed to supporting our neighbors and friends through this crisis. GSHE launched a Facebook group called GSHE Unexpectedly Homeschooling, to support our neighbors whose children are displaced from their local schools and struggling with remote learning. It is among the few state-specific resources to support these families over the months.
GSHE also observed a renewed interest in self-organized, small learning groups, also called “homeschool pods.” We interviewed Commissioner Frank Edelblut twice in the summer – video #1 and video #2 – about these family-based educational cohorts. We also created another Facebook group, GSHE Homeschool Pod Connections, to help bring families and educational providers together to form these home-based learning communities.
Our primary social media group, Granite State Home Educators, also experienced explosive growth over these months, increasing to over 3,880 members as of this writing.
As we saw this tidal-wave of interest surge across the state, GSHE upped our resources and created over a dozen videos specifically to help prospective and new homeschooling families. We cover many of the most common questions and areas of concern while providing encouragement and support. Because we could not host our in-person Intro Sessions, we hosted one virtually, recorded here, as well as a live Ask Me Anything re Homeschooling.
GSHE is happy to support prospective, new, and experienced homeschooling families through their home ed journey. One of our core beliefs is the power of community, and we remain committed to you for however long you decide to home educate your children. You are not alone, and we’re glad you found us.
By Michelle Levell