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'It's a joy': Homeschooling picks up among Black families around the country

“It is really a joy to be able to be with your children and to learn with them," Saleama Ruvalcaba said.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Many families across the country are turning to homeschool as an alternative to traditional schools.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported an increase during the pandemic from 5.4% in April 2020 to about 11% in October 2020 and the increase has been rising among Black households more sharply.

Saleama Ruvalcaba has been homeschooling her children for a decade. She's the director of Proverbs 22:6 Innovative Homeschoolers, a homeschooling group in Memphis.

“It is really a joy to be able to be with your children and to learn with them," Ruvalcaba said.

According to the most recent numbers from the U.S Census Bureau, the rate at which Black parents homeschooled grew from 3% in the spring of 2020 to 16% by the fall.

“Freedom of education is probably huge because you have that opportunity to be directly involved in what your child is learning, Ruvalcaba said. "I think that’s one of the reasons why so many families have been able to stick with it.” 

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Saleama's 16-year-old daughter, Gabrielle Ruvalcaba, has been homeschooled all of her life and she says it allows her to better pace herself.

“It’s easier for me because it’s a teacher on a computer explaining to me what to do," Gabrielle Ruvalcaba said.

Gabrielle has not only been able to better pace herself, finding safety in her daily routine with her parents, but she has also remained well-rounded.

“First I read my bible in the morning and then after that, I will go to the gym with my mom and then we come back just to have breakfast," Gabrielle said. "Then, we’ll start our homework and school. Then, we’ll usually finish about close to lunch ... We have basketball practice afterward sometimes."

“It’s completely available to a lot of families," Saleama said. "It just really is needing."


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