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Parents had tough choices to make this summer as they debated how to educate their children. Just about everything was up in the air for most districts and, whatever decisions had been made, could be changed at the drop of a hat due to COVID-19.

This drove more moms and dads to make the decision to homeschool. The Iowa Standard reached out to some families who made that change, and we will publish stories about their experiences thus far.

Beth said that the instability offered by Ankeny schools was unacceptable. What Ankeny offered during the spring, she said, was a “joke” and she had little confidence they would offer a satisfactory education for her children this year.

“I also did not want my children wearing a mask all day long,” she said. “Learning is hard enough. Add in masks and instability with schedules and teaching modes, this was a no-brainer for us.”

As with most families who homeschool, sacrifices needed to be made. While it represents a huge commitment, Beth said it has gone well and, for the most part, it’s gone as expected.

Since making the switch, Beth said she’s been able to meet each child where they are at.

“We have moved school districts twice and my children all had some gaps in their learning,” she said.

Her eighth-grader missed some key areas in math a few years ago and has fallen behind as a result. But homeschooling has allowed her to identify those areas and fill in exactly what they need to learn.

“The biggest advantage is that I can teach for mastery,” she said. “We don’t move on from something until they’ve got it. This is not something that happens at public school. If a child doesn’t understand something, the class still moves on.”

A few months into it, Beth said there are no regrets.

“The plans that Ankeny schools have implemented are pathetic compared to what other area districts are doing,” she said. “I do not feel they would be getting the education they need had we chosen to stay in public school this year. Plus, there has been so much instability with the decisions that have been made to go back and forth from hybrid to full time. I would not want my kids to be getting jerked around like that.”

Homeschooling has provided routine and stability.

“The most rewarding part of homeschooling is that my kids have actually been learning and growing and we have stability as a family,” she said. “Routine is so important for children.”

 

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall