Some Local Families Turn to Homeschooling After Trying Traditional Schooling | Education

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Although families have tended to turn to homeschooling nationwide after the classroom moved to family living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no There hasn’t been a big increase in the number of home-schooled students in the Bryan and College Station districts.

Both districts require families to submit a letter stating their intent to remove their child from the public school district to homeschool their student.

Representatives from both districts said the same requirement was not in place for students re-enrolling from homeschooling, and data was also missing on students who never enrolled in school. public school and who have instead been homeschooled since kindergarten.

Chuck Glenewinkel, director of communications for the College Station School District, said the district sees an average of about 100 students withdraw to homeschooling each year. The 2021-2022 school year saw a slightly higher enrollment with 145 students.

There was a larger increase in the 2020-21 school year, which he called “the COVID year,” with 301 homeschooling district dropouts. However, at the end of April, they knew of 261 students who had chosen to re-enroll this year from homeschooling.

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Barbara Ybarra, associate superintendent of teaching and learning for the Bryan School District, said there was an uptick during the pandemic and in the 2021-2022 school year. However, this increase was about 20 more students, representing about “one-half percent” of the entire district.

She said it is the parents’ discretion for their child’s education, and state law protects that choice, whether in a public, private or home setting.

She said it ultimately comes down to what’s best for the family and the student.

“That’s, honestly, all we want,” Ybarra said. “We want the best educational environment for every child we serve who is in the Brazos Valley, quite honestly, so what does that look like for them.”

College Station students Ariel and Peyton Little, ages 14 and 12 respectively, began attending One Day Academy in 2020.

Ariel, who attended Greens Prairie Elementary School, wanted to change her school setting before starting at Pecan Trail Middle School. In the fall of 2019, she and her younger sister, who had also been to Greens Prairie, enrolled in the International Leadership of Texas charter school. It was not a good choice for either student. Ariel enrolled in One Day Academy homeschooling in January 2020, while Peyton returned to Greens Prairie.

Their father, Allen Little, said he thought there was a stark difference between the virtual learning Peyton received at Greens Prairie and the distance learning Ariel had at One Day Academy, preferring One Day . Peyton has joined her older sister at the homeschool site in time for the 2020-21 school year.

At One Day Academy, students travel to a campus one or two days a week to receive instruction from certified teachers. The rest of their learning is done at home.

Allen compared it to college where they meet once or twice a week and then have to complete the other classes on their own.

Their mother, Terri Little, said she loved having access to teachers to get answers for her daughters when they were working from home or get help with a lesson.

Allen said homeschooling can be different for different families. For some, this means “unschooling” in which students do not learn the traditional math and science curriculum. For others, it means creating a program that aligns with a certain set of values. For his family, Allen said, it was important to structure their home study program in preparing them for college.

The state requires homeschooling students to receive an education in language arts, math, and good citizenship, but other subjects are left to the discretion of parents.

The Littles receive instruction in core subjects both on the One Day Academy campus and at home, but also learn through American Heritage Girls – a Christian alternative to Girl Scouts – and groups, such as Recess and Road Trips.

Allen said homeschooling doesn’t have to feel academic and he appreciates the freedom it gives his daughters to learn in a way that suits them best.

It also adds time for family and academics, saying they can work through lunch if they want and don’t have to spend time changing rooms between classes.

Peyton, whose favorite subject is English, said she enjoys being with her family more.

“Sometimes I need to take breaks to see friends,” she said. “I really like having a fun time sometimes, but when I need it, I can just walk away and still see friends, but still see my family more.”

Ariel, whose easiest subject is currently algebra, said she likes having the freedom to go swimming or do fun things with her other homeschooled friends in the middle of the day and prefers also be in class with students who want to learn.

Terri said her daughters were less anxious and happier as part of homeschooling.

Suzanne Gose, communications manager for Bryan’s Community Homeschool Center, was previously a middle school Spanish teacher and chose to homeschool her children after deciding she didn’t enjoy the stress of homeschooling. traditional teaching.

“I don’t think it’s wrong. I don’t think anything is wrong,” she said. “I just think, why would I let anyone else have fun?”

She said parents sometimes feel intimidated to become a teacher if they don’t feel equipped to teach, but parents are resourceful. She says parents teach their children the language and tie their shoelaces before they start school.

“It’s homeschooling,” she said. “So when public school teachers say, ‘Discipline and education begins at home’, it does. Homeschooling is just a natural extension of parenting. Is it just what you want? If you don’t want to, don’t. But if you want, that’s it. This is the criterion. You have a child and you want to homeschool.

She said that while public school is seen as the “norm,” homeschooling is millennial compared to public school systems, so she encouraged parents who want to try it to give it a shot.

“If you don’t like it you can always put them back on, so maybe try over the summer,” said Gose, whose eldest son graduated in 2020. “It’s harder with kids who’ve been in the system because they’ve been trained that’s how you learn. They think you have to sit at a desk. They think you have to read a manual. We have manuals, but my kids mostly learn from all the living books, you know, autobiographies and anything we read as adults or children’s stories.

She said there are homeschooled students who she doesn’t think should be in this setting, but she also knows some in a traditional educational setting who would benefit from homeschooling.

One of the intangible benefits, seen by Gose and the Littles with homeschooling, is the time they spend with their families.

“Looking back on 20 years of homeschooling, I know I messed up a lot, but I can’t say, ‘Oh, I wish I had more time with my kids’ and that’s great,” Gose said.

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