CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVNS) — Education is an ever-changing topic that divides many and spawns something new with every year’s school bell.

Is the up and down educational atmosphere why West Virginia ranks in the Top 5 states with families who homeschool their children?

According to a new LendingTree study, West Virginia has the fifth highest percentage of families who have chosen to homeschool their children. The study stated that 8.2 percent of Mountain State families with children younger than 18-years-old chose to homeschool at least one of their children.

LendingTree | Homeschool rates

The COVID-19 pandemic brought hybrid and other alternative ways of learning to the forefront, with many cementing themselves permanently outside of the traditional classroom.

The study stated that homeschooling rates continue to increase, even after the pandemic. Before 2020, no more than 3.4 percent of students aged 5 to 17 were homeschooled. This shows no signs of stopping as an average of 4.7 percent of U.S. families are now saying they are homeschooling in some form. More students are homeschooled across the nation in 2023 than ever before.

In some school systems, snow days have even been replaced with ‘hybrid’ days where students can access all necessary school resources from the comfort of their home. The ease of access that students are afforded in today’s technology-driven society makes it easy to gain all the knowledge that could also be gained in a physical classroom.

In many states, teachers and other educational staff members have voiced their disdain for how underfunded some school systems are. Underpaid teachers are not finding the joy and passion within their job and students are not being given resources that other, better funded systems are. Could a lack of educational funding be another reason why kids are not in the classroom?

According to the US Census Bureau Annual Survey of School System Finances, six of the top ten states with the highest homeschool percentage were also included in the 20 states with the lowest per-student spending across public schools in 2021.

The rise in school-related mass shootings within the current generation can also be looked at as a factor keeping kids out of the classroom.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 108 people killed and 168 wounded in active shooter incidents at elementary and secondary schools. With no end in sight when it comes to school shootings, is homeschooling a safer option as well?

One combatant of a homeschooling strategy is the potential lack of social interaction. Students who physically attend school are able to participate in extra curricular activities like sports, clubs and some other opportunities that homeschooled children may not be given. With that being said, there are community groups of homeschooled students that can get together to learn in a group setting.

One thing is for sure, some form of education is incredibly important. However, knowing your who your child is and which strategies work best for them may be the most important.