LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As Kentucky prepares to reopen schools under new guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some families are looking at an alternative this year – homeschooling.
Before the pandemic, Bridget Wheeler never thought about homeschooling her children.
“We've been able to always send our kids to private schools and it never even entered my mind,” she said.
However, when the state started releasing new school guidelines, like having students wear masks during the day, the Louisville mom was concerned about what impact they would have on her three youngest children.
“A little bit worried about how this would affect them mentally,” said Wheeler. “Just how it would affect them being worried to be close to a classmate, not being able to hug their friends when they get back to school or being afraid to sit by somebody they're eating lunch with. That really weighed heavily on our minds.”
It's just one of the reasons Wheeler’s home will become the classroom this school year. Her family isn't the only one though, according to Hannah Harris with the Bluegrass Homeschool Learning Cooperative.
“We've gotten a lot of inquiries to our website,” said Harris. “I also have had a number of friends who know that I homeschool reaching out to me saying, 'Help us. We're really overwhelmed. We're not sure what to do, but we think this is going to be the best option for our family.'”
For any parent interested in homeschooling, Harris says it's not difficult to start, as Kentucky is a low regulation state. However, she says it's important to be flexible and know that one curriculum does not fit all.
“You don't have to sit your child down at a desk and 'do school.' There are all sorts of educational opportunities that are embedded in all kinds of different activities and there is a lot you can do to tailor a homeschooled education to the needs and interests of your child, which will ultimately make it a much more pleasant experience for both of you. So, don't get overwhelmed,” said Harris.
Harris thinks we'll see more families turn to homeschooling in the state and across the country as this uncertain time continues. As families research and try it out, Harris also wants them to know that homeschooling has also changed because of the pandemic and to stay open-minded.
An additional resource for homeschooling is the Home School Legal Defense Association.