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  • Writer's pictureMax Sinsheimer

SOLD! School's Out (by Mickey Revenaugh)

Did you know that an estimated 3 million American families have pulled their kids out of the traditional education system? It's a charged topic, but the reality is that homeschooling is now the fastest-growing form of education in the U.S. And yet no narrative work provides a compelling, accessible lens into this complex movement. Mickey Revenaugh's School's Out: Why American Families are Choosing Unconventional Education will change that.

Mickey is an education journalist and the co-founder of one of the leading online learning companies in the U.S. She has seen firsthand every permutation imaginable outside the traditional classroom, heard the searching voices of students and families, and met the sharpest thinkers on all sides of the debate. Now she will leverage this unique access and her MFA to draw an intimate portrait of the homeschooling movement.

(Fun fact: I met Mickey at the 2023 Washington Writers Conference, where she had a grand total of six minutes to pitch me this book. Which, obviously, she succeeded at. So for those of you deep in the pitching trenches, there's hope to be found!)

School's Out, to be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2026, traces each branch of the evolving homeschooling movement, telling stories that illuminate the quiet revolution in American education from the perspective of the families seeking unconventional options for their kids. We’ll explore microschools with Black homeschoolers in Georgia, go unschooling off the grid in Illinois, catalog tortoises across the Arizona high desert in a roadschooling RV, and join an all-ages “pod prom” outside Boston. We’ll witness the agonized debate at one kitchen table over pulling a trans daughter out of school for her safety—and the equally fraught decision next door to homeschool to avoid “pronouns.” We'll also catch up with unconventionally schooled young people post “graduation,” and look ahead to what the homeschooling movement means for the future of learning.

Harvey Larsen, 13, with his mother, Afua Brown, in New York City. Brown has been home schooling her children for eight years. Black and hispanic children are driving the greatest increase in students formally considered to be homeschooled. (Brian Branch-Price for The Washington Post)

By the journey’s end, we’ll see that the increasing personalization in children’s learning must be coupled with a broad connection to community to stave off isolation and despair, something parents became deeply aware of when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools virtually overnight. We’ll also see that the embrace of these new choices by an ever larger and more diverse segment of the population is driving positive change—along with nerve-wracking disruption—in the conventional education system itself.

I think this is such a rich and fascinating topic, and I can't wait to see what Mickey does with it. Congratulations to Mickey and her editor and champion at JHU Press, Ezra Rodriguez!


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