Homeschooling applications up 135% due to Covid concerns and ‘positive experiences during closures’ 2 years ago

Homeschooling applications up 135% due to Covid concerns and ‘positive experiences during closures’

Tusla says the rise is the result of a number of pandemic-related factors.

Applications of parents looking to register their children for full-time homeschooling has reached a record high.

The number of applications have more than tripled last year, from 617 in 2019 to 1,929 in 2020.

This rise in homeschooling applications has continued into 2021, with numbers for the first quarter of this year up by more than 135% over the same time last year.

The surge has resulted in a backlog of more than 1,000 applications to the registration system, which is regulated by Tusla, the child and family agency.

Parents who apply to educate their child at home must be assessed by Tusla.

The recent increase in applications is the result of a number of pandemic-related factors, including concerns about the coronavirus and more recently the Delta variant, as well as the fact that some families had a positive homeschooling experience during lockdown.

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Catherine Monaghan of Home Education Network, a voluntary support group for homeschooling families, said there has been a large increase in membership since the first school closures in March 2020.

Speaking to the Irish Times, she said: "There are many parents who are worried about their children's health or because there is someone else in the family who is vulnerable.

"Then, there are those for whom it was on the radar but they hadn't taken the leap. When they were forced into it, they found it was fine and their children enjoyed it. They found their children were happier and less stressed."

Though applications for homeschooling have shot up in recent months, the numbers of assessed and registered families have risen at a much slower rate due to the backlog of applications.

Latest figures show the total number of children on the homeschooled register increased from just over 1,500 in early 2020 to 1,786 in June 2021.