HS Special Edition #4 The Homeschooling Class of 2021 Just Grew 40% Bigger...and It's Not Why You Think with Jean Burke
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Author Jean Burk is a homeschooling mother and creator of the revolutionary and award-winning College Prep Genius curriculum which has helped thousands of high school students prepare for the SAT & PSAT/NMSQT. Her expertise has been featured on FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, WE, ION, The Jeff Crilley Show, Choice Media TV, Forbes Living TV, UShopTV, and The Homeschool Channel. She has been a keynote and featured speaker at numerous homeschool conferences, schools, clubs, college nights, and is a Fox News contributor. Jean currently travels across the United States speaking about how to go to college for FREE!
As a homeschooling mom, Jean did not have the financial resources to send her children to college. When she discovered the SAT & PSAT were the keys to getting huge scholarships, she began to research the tests to understand how to prepare her children for them. She discovered that these tests could be taught! They weren’t IQ tests, but rather critical thinking exams. After both her children were offered numerous full-ride scholarships, Jean began teaching these secrets to other homeschool, public, private, and charter school students. Her program College Prep Genius is the culmination of more than a decade of research, classroom experience, and SAT expertise. Her daughter also earned free grad school and her son earned free law school!
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HS EP Special Episode 4
Hello and welcome back to another installment of the Homeschool Solutions Show.
My name is Wendy Speake, and I am one of the many hosts we have here on the podcast.
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And now on today's show.
Hi, I'm Jean Burke with College Prep Genius, and I am so excited today to share with you the homeschooling class of 2021 just grew by 40%, and what's interesting is that the reasons may surprise you. You know we were all taken off guard last year with COVID-19. It pretty much was a major disruption to our lives and one of the things, when we were put into quarantine was that, you know, all of a sudden, schools were shut down. So, families were literally forced to somehow educate their children at home.
Now, whether you want to call pandemic schooling or online learning, took the schools a pretty good while to get up and going, cause they weren't prepared to do any kind of zoom classes. But eventually they got ‘em going, but for the most part what's very interesting is, even though we are now nearly a year away from the beginning of the shutdown, the lockdowns, is that there is a good amount of people that have said you know what? When it's all said and done, when the lockdowns are over with, we are going to continue homeschooling home educating in some form. A recent survey by the American Federation for Children, it's a real clear opinion research, noted that, around 40% of families said that we are not going back to a brick-and-mortar school. And even 64% of families that were polled said that, you know, they are now supporting some type of school choice or some kind of scholarship proposal where they can put their tax dollars where they want to put them.
You know, before the pandemic, before COVID-19, 3.3% of students were homeschooled. All of a sudden everybody became some kind of homeschooler. Kids were now at home, getting educated. You know whether it was by a parent, a friend, whether it was by eventually online or some kind of, you know, virtual school. But it turned everything around to where families, for those of us who have been homeschooling for years, or veteran homeschoolers, all of a sudden, we got, gained immense respect and that was greatly appreciated.
But I think they started to see what we saw. And so, I wanna go over some of the reasons why your students, your homeschooling students, one day when they graduate, will be a whole lot more than when my kids graduated. We're talking from anywhere from 3.3%, to now, maybe 40% of their peers will be educated at home.
Now, the first reason, which is pretty obvious: The health reasons. You know a lot of families are very concerned about their child going back to a school and they don't think necessarily, schools have taken all the precautions, whether it's, you know, whether you're even in a mask or not, or the six feet distancing, but they feel like that it's going to be very difficult for one teacher to, you know, oversee 30 or 40 kids to make sure everybody is following the guidelines. And it is. Kids are, kids are, cause they're kids, they're not necessarily going to do those things. And what do you do about playtime? I mean is that gone for good? You know, are kids gonna be able to get out and play?
And so, the families see that. They also see their kids being put in almost like a jail with the way they've created these sort of plexiglass cubicles for kids, keeping them apart. So, they see that and they're like, you know, not only am I worried that my kid may contract something, but also, I don't like the way that they're being treated. You know, even though there is, the CDC is coming out with preponderance of evidence showing that it is extremely rare that a child will even get covid. You know, what's worse is the rise of you know, the isolation and suicide, that, and the tips from the web MD that talks about, you know, what has happened since the lockdowns, and so it's been a very, very difficult thing.
So, we're finding that, I think families are seeing who are running these schools. Who are the school districts? And we're finding the biggest pushback for those who care, are keeping their schools closed, are the teacher's unions? And if you do just a little Google research, you can find that it's crazy in the since that, you know, in one County in Pasco and Washington said that reopening schools was white supremacy. And you know, now they're making it about race. And so, I think concerned parents listening were appalled when they were told that their idea of putting their kids back into school was likened to breaking into the capital.
And so, families are taking note of who's in charge of our kids. If this is the kind of attitude they have, you know, what are they doing in the classrooms? What are they doing with the teachers? And so, you know, I think families are just saying, you know what? Health, yes, I'm concerned that my child might get something, but even if they don't, I'm concerned about their well-being as far as what is going on. And you know, even a lot of families from low income, you know, they're really struggling because they haven't had a lot of support one way or the other, and so they've been kind of left out in the dark.
You know, it's time for us to awake from woke and realize that, in many cases, this is, can be the case of control. You know, shutting down our schools, or churches, muzzling us, you know, telling us what we can do, you know, taking away our free speech. So, there's a lot more underlying issues, and I think, as parents, we are standing up and seeing that you know. We don't want this kind of government control. You know, we can be responsible as a parent. We, you know, we know our own kids better. And so, I think for their health and wellbeing, you know, we can definitely do a better job.
Another reason what I thought, found was interesting is parents all of a sudden are getting a glimpse of what their kids are being taught in school. You know, with the ability of the classroom being in most people's living room, a lot of parents sat down with their children and we're pretty much appalled of a lot of the information or data or curriculum that their kids were being taught. And some of it was diabolically opposite of what they taught in their home, their own beliefs, their own faith, just history in general. And so, once they realized that their kids were being brainwashed, that was another reason for families to stand up and say, you know, I can't have my child being infiltrated with lies and deception. And I don't have time at the end of the day to de-brainwash my kid.
So, families actually have said, you know, this is not the way it's supposed to be. And so, that in itself has caused a lot of families to take a second notice. Not only that, you know, you know, in many cases, there have been pornography that have been hacked into and classrooms where fourth and fifth graders too, were exposed to such inappropriate visuals that, you know, hopefully they'll be able to undo those someday, but it's things like that, that the kids, you know, are, would have never had that before. And I think parents are seeing that and saying, you know, this is something that we take notice on and we're going to, you know, make a change for my, family's sake. I had no idea what was going on.
I think one of the coolest things that I have noticed with families, a huge percentage of families deciding to not return to brick-and-mortar school when it's all said and done. And that is what they noticed in their children. They've noticed that they're happier. That they're relaxed. They're not under some kind of peer pressure or bullying that they received at school. So not only are they home in a safe environment, they've been able to thrive. You know you've got your students who are pretty smart that probably got into trouble a lot at school because they were bored. Well, those students have been able to excel and get ahead and move on. And those students that were behind have had the opportunity to catch up at their own pace.
And so, when the parents see their child not dreading going to school and just being a new person.
I think it's revived a love to instill truth in your kids and to be the one that oversees them because nobody loves your kids more than you do. And this has brought out a whole new type of homeschooling, and, you know, for a lot of us who are veteran homeschoolers, you know, we have all decided to homeschool for various reasons. Whether it was for religious reasons or whether it was for the fact that, you know, we saw something in our children at school that maybe they came home with attitudes being around some, you know, kids that we didn't agree with or maybe they were learning things. But I think we're seeing a different group of families that are seeing something that we didn't see because we may have saw it all off the bat and they're seeing it.
I think a lot of kids too, are loving the idea of homeschooling because they feel like, well, gosh, I spent a couple hours, maybe three hours at the most, depending on their grade, and I was done with school and I was finished and now I have the whole day free. To whether it's to work on my sport or my piano or just be free. I can just relax and not come home with hours of homework after being at school all day long. And so I think a lot of kids are saying to their parents, please don't send me back. I don't want to go back. My whole day is gone. And you know the great thing for us as parents is when we're homeschooling, we have the best hours of their day we get to spend with them. So, it's a double benefit. And we get to instill truth in them. We get to discipline them right on the spot if they need it. We get to correct them. You know, some days it's not, we're going to do math. It's, we're going to get your attitude straight. And I think what, we're definitely able to do that as parents and homeschooling.
And you know a lot of families, have, you know, even moved into some of what's called pod-schooling or micro schooling, where maybe one of their friends, maybe they're not able to actually homeschool their child, but their neighbor is. And so they pay, you know, a fee and someone else will do it. Now most of us veteran homeschoolers may not call that true homeschooling, but it is, at least, a different form. You know, I know a lot of us do co-ops, and you know lot out kids in certain classes. You know more parent-directed education. But I think the big picture is, is they don't want them back in their environment, you know. Muddy water and clean water don't make clean water. It makes muddy water. And I think we, our kids hang around fools, they're going to smart for it.
And so, it's important that you know, you know that our kids are around the kind of influence that we want them to be, and you know at home, that's what you have. This is, this is the environment. And if you think about it, is anybody at your job exactly your age? Of course not. You know this is a false setting. Kids nowadays who go to school often can't equate to someone or even relate to someone you know nine months outside their calendar year. But as homeschooling, we have that ability for our kids to hang around older, as in ‘us’, the adults or a younger as in their siblings, and so it really does help them when it comes to you know future life. And again, think about the Israelites would have never sent their kids to the school of the Philistines.
So, we get to have that influence in their lives. You know we want to raise kids that we wanna hang out with when they're adults. And you get that kind of relationship by homeschooling because you're there with him and no one loves him more than you do. You know, I remember somebody saying, well, we're you worried about socialization? I said yes, I am. Have you seen what's going on? And you know, I just, hearing such scary reports of, you know kids, younger and younger becoming more involved in a lot of issues like drugs or promiscuity. Things even as young as ten, eleven years old, and it just has blown my mind.
But the beauty of homeschooling is that we are their main influence. And you know another thing too, when it comes to, you know, these families saying, you know, we're not going to put our kids back into a school. You know, no matter what school is, and that is because the virtual schooling is not working. It is a system that is not meant for a child to sit for eight hours a day watching a screen. Now I do know there are a lot of homeschooling academies that are great and a lot of us as parents, you know, have our kids take some classes online. There's nothing wrong with that. But I remember if I would have asked my mom, can I sit and watch TV for eight hours, I probably would have been, you know, smacked across the face. Like, of course, now you don't even ask that. But this is something that we're asking our kids to do when it comes to some of these online classes.
You know some of the states have not returned back to, you know, like I said, due to either the governor or the teacher's union or whatever, so they're doing their schooling through are all virtual online zoom type classes. And what they're finding is that there are, that they're learning 60% less than what they would have done in an actual classroom. You know, a lot of kids are predisposed to, you know, viewing a screen. Pretty much the fact that they're not getting what we call the VARK, are the visual, audio, reading or even kinesthetic, you know, the online classroom is kind of a two-dimensional, you know, system formatting that doesn't work, and there's not a lot of translatable data. It's not efficient for these kids, and you know it's not appealing to their learning style, so there's a danger, you know, of online learning that the kids are not focusing. Yeah, they're, maybe they're getting distracted by social media. They're doing something else. And not getting that deeper, learning that they're going to be able to remember what they've learned.
So, and the poor teachers, you know, they're being pretty much reduced to some, you know, prodder, motivator, to get your child to, you know, actually attend a school. I mean, there's been thousands of students, have been lost in the system. They're seeing, you know 30, 40% of virtual dropouts based on this type of learning, so it's really been a struggle. So, parents have seen that either in their own child or maybe in other students, and so it's become a real problem for them. You know, trying to get their kid motivated. Or maybe the parent is working and they had to rely on their student, you know, being home, and there's not that structural parental oversight there. And so, they really don't necessarily know what's going on.
So, you know, the two senses learner. The long-term memory, you know, is being missed here with the type of learning. So, I think it's important that families understand that, you know, E-learning is not for everyone and especially sitting for eight hours a day watching a poor teacher who has to somehow keep your kid motivated and you know it's not like they can even watch, put the cameras on it. Cause in many cases, there's privacy acts where you're not allowed to watch the kids, and even then, it's going to be hard to watch thirty little faces on a little Brady Bunch type screen.
So, again, it's not the most optimal idea for families to have their kids, you know, to learn. But you know we want them to learn the best way they can. So, when it comes to homeschooling and the classroom growing or the kids that will be graduating high school when your kids do, you know, a 40% difference is huge. Never in my lifetime would I have ever thought that. I knew homeschooling was the fastest growing educational system, but not like the way it did last year, when pretty much everybody became some type of homeschooling, or home educator and, you know, with their kids being in lockdown.
But now we're going to see kids who have actually not returned, going to be in a whole different ball game and being that same, you know, classroom as your child as far as is the graduating class. And I really want to encourage you families, if you're considering homeschooling. If you're one of those 40% that said, you know, I'm really thinking about, you know, officially withdrawing my child from school and, you know, making a statement now. Every state is different, so keep in mind that depending on where you live, there's going to be various things that you'll have to, hoops that you'll have to jump through. You know there are some, you know, with the surging of homeschooling, there's, you know, you can go to the HSLDA website, they'll show you the laws for your particular state.
For example, some states like Texas where I'm at, or Oklahoma or Indiana for example. They have, there are no regulations. There's no notice or requirement to homeschool. Now you have to, you know, withdraw your child, but you don't have to, you know, fill out any kind of paperwork or anything. You don't need teacher certification or anything like that. You got sort of a low regulation, like California, Georgia, Kentucky. You know there's a, you do have to notify your department there and, you know, you do have to have some kind of state mandated subjects there. Then you have more moderate like Florida, South Dakota, more of a policy of, you have to require, you have to have some qualifications for, depending which formatting you choose. And then you have the high regulations like Pennsylvania and New York, where not only do you have to have some kind of teacher certification, certain classes are mandated. And they're gonna only give you one option to homeschool.
So, find out the laws for your state first of all, and that way, you know, you know, you can set off on the right foot and you know. You know the great benefits that you'll have with your kids is, there are so many flexible options. You know if you don't want to teach a math or science, the great thing is you don't have to. There online courses. Certainly there are co-ops. If, you know, if your state opens back up, you've got your one on one teaching outside classes. And you know, the thing about it is you can tailor the curriculum because there's no one size that fits all. One child might be an ??? learner, one might be a visual learner, so you're able to give them different curriculum and they can still both excel, you know, whether it's a textbook, a video, online or whatever.
I think the difference when it comes down to homeschooling versus E-learning, for those of you families who are thinking well, I'm considering homeschooling and something that's maybe on my radar. I saw, I'm still thinking of wait and see what's going on in schools or just how my child is going to do. But I think one of the things to keep in mind is the difference when you're talking about homeschooling versus E-learning, and when I say E-learning, that's someone else doing all the work online, and that is you as a parent are solely responsible for choosing the curriculum and structuring the schedule. You know what you want to teach, you know, when it's done, you know, and basically it's a freedom.
And so, you know, knowing where to start, what subject you need to cover. And there's a lot of support, not just HSLDA, which is a great organization. There are local support groups and Facebook groups. But one of the things I think is to encourage you is not to bring school home. That's you know, that's something other that a lot of times, you know, we as parents want to make homeschool, but try to make it, you know, around your family. And I think the great thing is you want to build school around life and not life around school.
And so, when you when you take that kind of model then that takes the pressure off having to, you know, sit for spelling from nine to ten, and math eleven to twelve, and so forth. You can also check in with Kathy Duffy has some great reviews about curriculum. Homeschool conventions hopefully will all resume this year or most of them will. Great places for you to meet reps and authors and hear seminars and just, you know, put your hands on the different curriculum.
You know, once the pandemic started last year, or the lockdowns or the quarantines or house arrest or where you wanna call it. I started noticing people were posting, you know, free stuff online to help people cause a lot of people were at a loss. They didn't have any curriculum. They didn't know where to begin, where to buy it, they didn't have any money. And I belong to over a hundred groups on Facebook. And many of them would post various things and I started compiling it. So now I have a website of free resources that has thousands of, just everything from art, science, math, virtual tours, English, anything you can think of just about. And you can get that on my website at collegeprepgenius.com/helpathome. So that's collegeprepgenius.com/helpathome.
And so, it's a great way to help you get going, especially if money is an issue, or maybe you just wanna try out some different types of curriculum and see what's best for your child. But I think the great thing about homeschooling, you know, for those of you who are homeschooling now, who are wanting to continue on, or wanting to even think about doing it for the long term, even when their lockdowns are over with, is that you are your kids' best teacher, because nobody cares about them more than you do. And even if it's a class you can't teach, there certainly online classes or outside classes that can fill that void. I know that's what we did. And there's more opportunities now than there was like when my kids were in school.
And I just really want to encourage you that, you know, it's, homeschooling is, to me, the best part was more than just, you know, protecting them, you know, from the peer pressure, which was great. And more than, you know, being able to control what they learn and what they didn't learn.
But for me, it came down to the relationship that you create with your child. You get to spend that quality time with then, talking with them, and in putting in their lives and them sharing with you.
And it becomes a safety, a refuge in your home.
And you know homeschooling is, has been well established. And you know, and you may, in fact, be better positioned in COVID-19 to deliver a better, well-rounded education than those, you know, who are trying to put together something online for their kids at school because it is very difficult to be the teacher as well as to be the prodder.
You know, one of the things too, is, I remember growing up and we would always be told, hey you're not at school to be to socialize. You're here to learn. Boy, has that changed a lot in the attitude. But you know, you socialize dogs, and you raise kids. You know, at one time in history, everybody was homeschooled and this is, you know, before the pandemic and before the actual school system. You know, and I think as parents we want more for kids. We want more. We want them to be challenged. We want to spend more time with him, and I think that this is something that you can do and I'm really here to encourage you.
And there's a lot of great, great companies and people that are there. They've been there, they've done that, and they're there to really help you in your homeschool endeavors. If you hit a snag or you're burned out or you some days you just think you can't do it. Listen, we've all been there more times and then not, and so you can learn from them.
But one of the things I really want to encourage is that, you know, your kids, you know, are your, you are their number one fans. And being able to be there during the homeschooling time. Being able to say oh, this is something that I want for my kids. I want the best for them. I want them to have a sense of destiny. I want them to have a testimony of their faith. I want them to be able to withstand, you know, in times of struggle. Right now, they're just seedlings. You know, we don't want them to be overwhelmed because peer pressure is so great for kids. So, we're able to literally be able to impart in them and to give them those, that independent thinking that they have. And you know if, you know, we've seen this real return back to schooling. And I really believe that it's our responsibility as a parent to teach our kids. It's not only Scriptural, but, you know, we want the best for them more than anybody.
And one of the things that people is, you know, you can send your kids to the best schools and they can have the best number one curriculum, top of the line. It could be everything that you want for your kids. But you can't guarantee the peers and that is the problem when it comes to, you know, our kids at school. And I think a lot of parents have seen that. I think parents have seen when their kids have come home and they're just a new person. They're, the light has come back on. The desire to learn has come back on. They're, and they're just a joyful little person in their home that they once was because the life of them had been drained by just everything that's going on at school.
And, you know, when, when they aren't scored, another issue is, because I have friends and families that are teachers, and, you know, and maybe a 55-minute time frame, there's only about seventeen, eighteen minutes of actual teaching because the rest of the time is filled up with, you know, discipline problems and paperwork and trying to get one point across just all these different kids who all have learning differences in their styles of learning. And then they still come home with homework.
And so, for the kids to be able to sit down and get it the first time. Or if they don't, we can go back over it with him because we just notice that they, it just wasn't clicking, and they just become this little child, who's excited about learning, or someone who just is so thankful that they're in the safety zone. And I think, too, one of the interesting things about teaching little independent thinkers, is that we can give them the best curriculum. We have the opportunity, you know, a lot of conventions I speak at, there's a lot of schools that come to the homeschool conventions looking for the best curriculum so they can take back to their schools.
So, I'm just really encouraging you that if you're considering being one of those 40% of families that are not returning back once it's all said and done, or maybe you did put your child back into school and realize it's just not working out. But you can do it. You know, you don't have to be schooled in twelve different grades, you know. Some things you don't know, you can learn along with your child, which is a really fun way for them to learn cause you're learning too, and they see that in you. But also, there are other people that can help you. Whether you do take some online classes or have some outside teachers help. There is help out there no matter what.
And so, I just encourage you today that homeschooling is here to stay. Ironically, it must be ruffling a lot of feathers because there's a lot of people worried and scared, even wanting to get rid of homeschooling altogether. And you know, many of you saw that piece written by Harvard, talking about the dangers of homeschooling. And some homeschooler found even a typo in their article and said hey, by the way, you got a typo. You're welcome, from a homeschooler. And I think it's the inside story from them is there worried that, you know, not only the tax dollars are going to be taken away from their schools, but they're no longer going to be indoctrinated. And that these kids are going to be able to think for themselves and not be these little robots.
And so, if someone is worried about homeschooling, that should tell you we're doing something right. And, you know, another reason to expect families will want to continue is, you know, once the conventional schools open is, you know, we've seen what happens in other countries, you know. Whether in their indoctrination. And, you know, we, many of us don't believe in what these kids are being taught or being brainwashed.
And so, as a family, we've seen that now. We can take a look at what's going on and go wait a minute. This is what my schools have been teaching? And we don't really have a lot of say for my child. Cause, you know, certainly in the public school, private schools certainly a little different. But even then, you know, who knows what's going to happen in the future if they're going to be dictating what they can or cannot teach?
So, it's something to definitely take notice in what's going on. But I really feel like the 40% of families and maybe that may even grow more after this year is over with. Who knows? To me that's amazing. From 3.3% to 40%, but I'm excited for you and I really want you to know that there's so much help out there. I have, like I said, those free resources on my website that you are welcome to come and grab and get ahold of. And search online. A lot of great groups out there that can really help you in your endeavor.
And so, I really appreciate you listening and getting a glimpse of the future. You know. I think 40% of homeschoolers, we can take back over the world, you know. We can actually, in a generation or so, bring in leaders that show for truth and radiate the light and don't want to erase history, but want to embrace it by understanding our mistakes so that we don't repeat them. And that is us, as homeschooling families. We can, you know, teach that truth to them.
So, we're excited and I'm thankful for your listening and feel free to contact me if you have any questions. You know, I've been teaching kids on how to get free college. Many, many homeschoolers, tens of thousands, have gone through our program. But we have, I also have a free video series on how to get free college. It's going to be on the link that Kim is going to put for this particular podcast.
So, if you're got middle school kids on up through high school and you have college-bound students and you need to know how to get scholarship money. You know, you go on there and watch those videos. They're free. On how to do that. Plus, if you need the free resources, get those as well.
Thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much that you either are homeschooling or definitely considering it. I think it's something other that you won't regret. And you know it isn't going to be easy. It is a sacrifice. It is something other than you know, it changes your lifestyle. And the days may be long, but the years are gonna be short. And you're going to look back and, you know, be able to be thankful because, even in a high school timeframe, there's somewhere around six thousand hours that our kids, just in high school alone, just in the classroom, not even counting to and from school or after school hours and activities, that your kids are away from you. That's just in high school. Six thousand hours, that somebody, somewhere, will be imparting and influencing them somehow, whether for the good or for the bad.
But as a parent, you can take back that time and redeem that time with your kids and homeschooling is definitely a great way to do that. So, thank you so much for listening and I appreciate it and hopefully we will meet sometime, you know, at a convention that I'm at.
Again, Jean Burke. College Prep Genius. Thank you so much.
Thank you for joining us this week on the Homeschool Solutions Show. As always, you can find show notes and links to all the resources mentioned at homeschooling.mom. I hope you'll take a moment to subscribe to the podcast, and if it was especially meaningful to you, share it with your friends via email or social media. This is just another way we can all encourage and love and support one another.
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But in the meantime, let's gather together again here on the podcast next week.