MONTREAL -- The number of Quebec children who will be homeschooled by their parents has seen a significant jump for the start of the 2020 school year, according to new provincial statistics.

This jump in numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic went from just under 6,000 last year to an expected 10,000 this fall.

The Quebec Attorney General presented these figures to a judge Thursday as an education dispute continues.

Last year, 5,964 children were homeschooled. So far, 9,634 have registered this year, and the number will rise again as more parents have registered their children since the numbers were compiled.

For years, parents have had the option of withdrawing their children from school to take care of their education at home.

The figures did not surprise Marine Dumond, president of the Quebec Association for Home Education (AQED), she said.

The number of members in the association has also exploded. Before the pandemic, there were 850 members, but now there are over 1,700.

And this number is deceptively low. Each family counts as one member, but since families often have more than one child, this means that the number of young people receiving education at home is, of course, higher.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 4, 2020.