WHITE OAK, Texas (KETK) – As many East Texas districts start school, some parents are taking a new approach this year. Now, families are choosing to home school their children more than ever, amid the uncertainty of this school year.
Every year, Cora, Tate, and Caden, look forward to the first day of school at White Oak ISD, but this year will look a little different.
“Their notebook that they will be writing in, that goes along with the textbook,” said Kristen Spencer, picking up all of the supplies she bought to teach her children at home.
This year, schools across the state are using a “hybrid model,” meaning, parents will have the option of sending their students in for face-to-face learning, or staying at home for online learning, or a mix of both. However, for some neither is an option, instead the parents are taking on the roll of teacher.
“If someone would have asked me last year if, would you ever consider home schooling your kids, it would have been absolutely not, I don’t think I can handle it, I don’t even want to do it,” but since then Mrs. Spencer’s mind has changed, “I think, I think this might be a good option for us.”
Mrs. Spencer is a former English teacher and stay at home mom. She says this year, she wants her children to have a consistent five days a week schedule.
“It was a hard decision because we have loved being at White Oak, it’s been such a great experience but when we started to look at what this next year was going to look like,” said Mrs. Spencer, deciding against it.
Back in March, thousands of students were sent home during the beginning of the pandemic.
“With the way COVID has effected other things, we felt like they’ll do in person for as long as the can, but if they have enough cases people would be sent home to do remote learning, and we wanted continuity for this year, we wanted to start something and be able to continue it,” explained Mrs. Spencer.
While learning will happen inside at the children’s own desks, outside Mrs. Spencer’s husband, has been hard at work making the desks from hand, after the family learned just how much three desks can cost.
“They decided what do they want their desk to look like, so he’s making those, and those will go upstairs,” explained Mrs. Spencer.
In just one month, the Texas Home School Coalition reported the number of families withdrawing their students from public schools, due to COVID-19 was 15 times higher then it was in 2019.
According to the THSC website, in order for parents to homeschool their children they must do three things:
- Parents must withdraw their student from public school
- Become a member of the Texas Home School Coalition
- Choose a curriculum
“It’s almost like an a la carte. I like what this group is offering, I like those private school courses, I like these online courses, and so families are choosing curriculum or resources that best fit their families,” said Tim Lambert, President of the Texas Home school Coalition.
The Spencer’s plan on tailoring lessons to their children’s interest, including music and bible into the curriculum.
While the family does not know how long they will be homeschooling their children, they have partnered with other families taking the same approach, in hopes to continue social skills while at home.