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Fall semester homeschooling expected to surge here

Parents, students and teachers in Texas are waiting for word from the Texas Education Agency on what classrooms will look like in the Fall. But many parents aren’t waiting to make a choice on how their kids will be learning next year. Many are choosing to homeschool. (File)
Parents, students and teachers in Texas are waiting for word from the Texas Education Agency on what classrooms will look like in the Fall. But many parents aren’t waiting to make a choice on how their kids will be learning next year. Many are choosing to homeschool. (File)(Shutterstock)
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 5:56 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Parents, students and teachers in Texas are waiting for word from the Texas Education Agency on what classrooms will look like in the Fall. But many parents aren’t waiting to make a choice on how their kids will be learning next year. Many are choosing to homeschool.

Back in March, districts were unexpectedly shuttered, and many of them were forced to create and implement a fully online curriculum with little to no time to prepare.

“We literally had to start where we were,” said Dr. Susan Kincannon, Superintendent at Waco ISD. “And we moved as fast as we could to get better, but it’s a big system, and it happened overnight.”

But now that the threat of COVID-19 has re-emerged, many parents have started considering other options for next year.

China Spring mom Kayla Phillips said it was a Facebook post from a district in California that rattled her. It was a picture, depicting a socially distant bus ride, sanitization stations for backpacks, and scared kids, according to Phillips.

She said, “I shared it to show my friends that this is us if our kids go back to school in August.”

Phillips said that’s when she and her husband started looking into homeschooling their young daughter.

“I think that I can provide a way more normal experience for her than she would get going to school,” Phillips said. “With the current situation.”

De-enrolling your child from public school to teach them at home is a move Tim Lambert, president of the Texas Homeschool Coalition says is a better alternative.

“The virtual school network that the state put together is very limited,” he said. “It’s not worked very well.”

Lambert said many parents he has talked to say the support among the homeschooling community made all the difference for them.

“We’ve had anecdotal responses from people saying, ‘you know i never would have tried this, i didn’t think i could do it but it’s turned out to be a great thing for our family.”

Phillips said she is hoping for a similar experience.

“If we have the means, and i have the option to keep her home, then i’m absolutely going to do that.”

The THSC says they’ve had so many requests for information that they had to launch a separate website for COVID learning: https://coronavirushomeschooling.com/. Lambert said there you’ll find resources, links to curriculum, and even Facebook groups, meant to support those just starting out in the homeschooling realm.

He said one important thing to remember about the choice is that it doesn’t have to be a permanent one.

“This is not a lifetime decision,” Lambert said. “You make a decision now, you’re not gonna have to live with this decision for the rest of your life. So do what’s best right now. Worry about next year next year.”

Copyright 2020 KWTX. All rights reserved.

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