EL PASO, Texas — Distance learning was the new normal this past spring semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but learning from home has pushed more parents to keep their kids at home.
Schooling during the quarantine looked a lot different: Papers, books, and technology spread across a kitchen table, mingled with the ins and out of everybody home 24/7.
“That distant learning, that was definitely the kicker for us,” one mother, Brianne Saad, said.
Saad is one of many mothers who picked up the job of helping facilitate schoolwork from home.
“It just did not work whatsoever,” Saad said.
Saad has a 9-year-old son, Ethan, who’s ADHD makes it easier for him to learn using a one-on-one approach.
“It’s the right time to jump in and just go for it,” Saad said.
So, Saad changed gears to homeschooling. As a newbie, she turned to the El Paso Homeschool Association.
“The whole point here is for the child to learn,” said the director of El Paso’s Homeschool Association, Raquel Ruiz.
Ruiz said the first step is withdrawing your student from the school they’re enrolled in.
“In the state of Texas, you do not have to explain why you’re withdrawing them,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz said a curriculum to follow for your student is really whatever you choose.
“It’s a combination of what the child would like and what the parent will like,” Ruiz said. “You could kind of just search on the internet for beginning homeschool curriculum.”
The inquiries at the association spiked 400 percent, with 15 new families coming for guidance each month since El Paso County’s stay-at-home order began, according to Ruiz.
Although homeschooling leaves more room for flexibility, the environment and routine are key when getting ready to homeschool.
“You’ve got to be setting up your home the way you would be setting up a classroom,” Ruiz said.
For Saad and her family, the nerves are there for the new adventure, but Saad said they’re taking it all as it comes.
“[We’re going to try] at least do a year and see where we’re at in a year with the homeschool,” Saad said.
Ruiz said when you’re homeschooling, you are not mandated to take a standardized test – such as the STARR test. However, if you’d like to have your child take one, there are ways to sign up for it.
For more information on how to homeschool visit the El Paso’s Homeschool Association’s website.