While her neighbors rush down the street to catch the school bus, 14-year-old Lilah Hadden starts her school day at home. After spending the morning on math and creative writing with her mother, she takes a violin class online, finishing her day with independent reading. For two years now, homeschooling has worked well for her. “I’m getting to … learn more of what I actually want to learn about,” Lilah says, noting that she’s particularly passionate about music. But if it weren’t for the pandemic, the idea to school at home would never have crossed her mind.
Covid-19 forced students around the globe to learn without physically going to school, as entire states and countries went through long periods of lockdown. It’s sparked new interest in homeschooling alternatives in places ranging from Des Moines, Iowa, to Hamburg, Germany, where homeschooling has been banned for over a century. Students have discovered that alternative school arrangements can offer more flexibility to manage differences, pandemic stress, and distractions.