By Lynzee Mychael
In the wake of the global pandemic, black communities across the nation have been quietly leading a revolution — one centered around the adoption of remote work and homeschooling. As the world grapples with unprecedented challenges, these communities are redefining education and employment, seeking safety and sanity in the midst of uncertainty.
Homeschooling on the Rise
Homeschooling has experienced a remarkable surge since the beginning of the pandemic, with an estimated 30% increase in enrollment since the 2019 school year. While the absolute numbers are still relatively modest, this rise has not only impacted traditional school enrollment but also reshaped perceptions of education.
Research indicates that homeschooled students tend to outperform their public-school counterparts by 15 to 30 percentile points on standardized tests. Beyond academic achievement, homeschooling is associated with higher career success post-graduation, challenging preconceived notions about the effectiveness of traditional education.
For homeschoolers contemplating college, the admissions process is remarkably similar to that of traditionally schooled students. In fact, many colleges actively seek out homeschoolers, recognizing the diverse skills and perspectives they bring to higher education.
However, concerns have been raised about the potential impact on social development for homeschooled children. While they may interact with peers outside the homeschooling environment, the absence of traditional school settings can lead to feelings of isolation and impact social development. This concern prompts reflection on how to balance the benefits of homeschooling with the importance of social interaction.
“For me homeschooling has been a game changer,” said Victoria Benett, a home school parent and remote worker. “It all started when a teacher suggested I switch districts because my daughter was limited to the curriculum provided. That was a wake-up call. I decided to take charge of the kids’ education, and it’s been the best decision. Being deeply involved in what my kids learn is priceless. Our schedule is our own and we can learn in a way that truly fits our family’s rhythm.”
Benett highlighted another advantage, emphasizing safety. This resonates with the ongoing discussions among parents regarding the security concerns prevalent in traditional schools. “I don’t worry about nothing crazy at school like bullying, distractions, and safety. That gives me peace of mind.”
Some parents initially opted to send their children back to school after the pandemic. However, upon encountering dissatisfaction with the system, they ultimately made the decision to return to homeschooling.
“Last year, I enrolled my daughter in a traditional public education setting, at her request. It honestly was a very disheartening experience,” said Jacqueline Briann, a homeschooling mother in Detroit. “I knew that I had to be her best advocate, so I pulled her out early and began homeschooling again. Some children thrive in very structured environments while others need more active or small-group settings. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have access to afterschool programs and extracurricular activities to mitigate my concerns regarding social interaction and development. While I do plan on exploring other educational models in the future, I know that right now, the best place for my child is at home surrounded by people who are truly invested in who she is as a human being.”
Briann emphasizes the significance of maintaining a flexible remote work schedule. “I know that there are concerns about children’s social skills or even a parent’s ability to work. I would not be able to choose from different educational models if I didn’t have a flexible work schedule or control over my own time.
The Remote Work Revolution
Simultaneously, the paradigm of traditional workspaces has undergone a seismic shift, with remote work emerging as a dominant trend. In 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, and an additional 28.2% have adapted to a hybrid model, blending home and in-office work.
Despite the rise of remote work, the majority of the workforce still operates in-office, highlighting the coexistence of traditional and remote work environments. Looking ahead, the future of remote work appears promising, with an estimated 32.6 million Americans (22% of the workforce) expected to be working remotely by 2025.
The desire for remote work is overwhelmingly shared by the workforce, with 98% expressing a preference for at least partial remote work. This preference underscores the growing recognition of the flexibility, autonomy, and work-life balance that remote work offers.
“Many of my remote jobs have allowed me to set my own schedule which is a huge plus. It means I can align work with my homeschooling needs seamlessly. Initially, having everything happen at home felt overwhelming. We’ve adjusted and now, whether its work or school, I have the freedom to choose where and when it happens.”
From the employer’s perspective, the acceptance of remote work is evident. A significant 93% of employers plan to continue conducting job interviews remotely, signaling a willingness to adapt to virtual methods and acknowledging remote work as a sustainable option.
Pioneering the remote work paradigm, approximately 16% of companies are already fully remote, operating without a physical office. These companies serve as trailblazers, demonstrating the feasibility of fully remote models and inspiring others to follow suit. Even with all of the pros there are still some disadvantages for remote workers. Carla Mattison, an account specialist and entrepreneur, expressed that comfort can sometimes be a con.
“One con is not having a real away from work feeling. My office is in my bedroom so when I go to sleep, I can still see my job. Also, I have been in a career comfort since my job is work from home causing me not wanting to apply for other career opportunities.”
Black Communities at the Forefront
In the midst of these societal shifts, black communities have embraced the dual trends of homeschooling and remote work. The reasons are multifaceted, ranging from concerns about the safety of traditional schooling during the pandemic to the desire for greater control over educational curricula.
Remote work, for many black professionals, provides an opportunity to break free from the constraints of traditional office settings, fostering a more inclusive and flexible work environment. This revolution is not just about adapting to change but actively shaping the future of education and employment.
In the silent revolution of a narrative of empowerment emerges — one that challenges conventional norms, embraces flexibility, and places a premium on safety and sanity. As the nation witnesses this transformation, it becomes clear that the future of education and work is evolving, and black communities are at the forefront of this quiet yet powerful revolution.
For working parents like Bennett, the silent revolution is an answer to many prayers. “There are challenges, but the rewards — like the unmatched time with my kids — make it all worth it. Every family’s different, but for us, this setup has been a huge win. Not to mention the money saved on childcare and again, peace of mind. When I worked outside the home, I was dropping the kids off in two different places, switching during my lunch, driving all around the world backward, just doing too much. I’d never do that again! Working from home and homeschooling is next level when you take advantage of the flexibility they offer and room for other opportunities of growth, income, and education.”