According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), there were 3.7 million homeschooled students in the USA during the 2020/2021 school year. The institute’s data also shows that from late March to early May of 2022, 5.22% of all school-age children were homeschooled.
An entire industry has sprung up around servicing those who are homeschooling their children. Heather Stark writes about this industry as an insider:
Before the pandemic, we partnered with schools to deliver our curriculum. When the shutdown occurred, we lost those partnerships, but we found the homeschool crowd. This community accepted us wholeheartedly.
For the past three years, we’ve traveled to more than 20 homeschool conferences. Our company has a lot of supportive and excited customers. We even get return customers whom we love reconnecting with at these events.
However, there is a faction that prickles at our presence. B and I try to brush it off, but even the smallest splinter, when not addressed, can cause an infection.
We’re in Florida. I walk down an aisle and notice a red glare, a tinge that no other aisle has. It takes me a moment, and then it hits me: This whole aisle is political organizations. None of it has to do with education — just politics — and every booth has some red in it.
I pass some signs that read “Ron DeSantis World.” B says it looks like they’re mimicking the Disney font. Several booths are conducting podcast interviews. I look up the podcasts on my phone and see that each one spreads conspiracy theories.
I pass another booth where a man and a woman are talking about gun rights… at a homeschool conference. Then I pass a Moms for Liberty booth. My stomach drops.