When Connor Buss stopped going into school during the Covid pandemic, his father noticed a change.
James Buss’s 13-year-old son struggles with focus and would often get distracted in class. Learning at home, as most pupils did as the virus spread, offered a way around this.
“His marks improved. He didn’t have any distractions around him,” the 39-year-old, from Cambridgeshire, tells The Independent.
When schools reopened, Connor went back for a month. “We started to notice everything started to go back to the way it was,” Mr Buss says.
His grades went down again. He would get distracted by friends in class, and have to work during break time to catch up. He was getting “more and more frustrated”.
The 13-year-old has now spent two years being taught through Wolsey Hall Oxford, a homeschooling college with online courses. And his father says this is something that works for his son.
When he is struggling with some work, he can take a break by going on a bike ride or the trampoline - which works better for him than being stuck in a classroom. ”He comes back and then he sits down and he carries on.”
Mr Buss is one of many families that have turned to homeschooling since the Covid pandemic hit.
Numbers of home-educated students have jumped by 40 per cent since 2018, Freedom of Information requests – by Wolsey Hall Oxford – reveal.
Concerns have been raised that children slip through the net after the government scrapped plans to make it compulsory for parents to register their children as homeschooled.
Mr Buss says homeschooling works for his son but not his daughter, who remains in school. “It’s a nice example of trying to do what’s best for the child.”
Sherrylyn Balogun tells The Independent all five of her sons are now educated at home after their first experience of homeschooling in the Covid pandemic.
It is “not always easy”, she says, but the 36-year-old enjoys being able to tailor the education to her five sons’ interests and needs. For example, she can work at the right pace and look at creative ways of learning for her 12-year-old son with autism spectrum disorder.
The mother from Buckinghamshire says: “We want to have fun with them. It’s not just about sitting at a table and having books in front of you.”
Her 15-year-old son, Malachi, says he was not sure at first about homeschooling – but it works for him.
“There is a lot of freedom… you can work towards your own schedule,” he says.“You don’t have to do all the work in the morning, or work at a specific time. You can space it out.”
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