DES MOINES, Iowa – Jacklynn Walters has homeschooled his eldest child for the past 6 years.
When schools closed earlier this year to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, the mother of four said she didn’t have to worry about raising her children.
“A number of parents were concerned that their child would fall behind because they did not finish the last part of their school semester,” she said. “It was not something on my mind. I didn’t have to worry about my child falling behind or even in the future. ”
Walters volunteers as a media director for the home education organization Midwest Parent Educators. She says more parents are learning about home schooling.
“We get a number of phone calls and emails from parents specifically asking for workshops or help on how to get home school, and what it looks like,” Walters told Fox News . “They also have questions about the program and if they have any other options besides virtual public schools.”
Interest is growing nationwide.
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More parents are choosing homeschooling over classroom instruction when school resumes this fall as school districts roll out plans to reopen during the global health crisis.
A recent American Children’s Federation poll shows 40% of respondents are more likely to continue home schooling after coronavirus lockouts.
“We actually had to get a much bigger inbox for our email because it started bouncing emails at the end of the day,” said J. Allen Weston, executive director of the National Home School Association.
Weston said parents are frustrated with plans to reopen the school and are now looking for other options.
“We hear things like six-foot-by-six-foot chalk squares on the playground and kids can’t leave their seats. We mean seclusion rooms for all children who cough or are in solitary confinement all day.
President Donald Trump is pushing for face-to-face courses despite the fact that the number of coronavirus cases is increasing across the country.
“Everyone wants it,” Trump said. “Moms want it. Dads want it. Children want it. It is time to do it.
Homeschool critics fear students will be left behind as more parents consider alternatives.
“In this country, we have almost no home school regulations,” said Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet. “Only a dozen states require parents to have any permission. These states only require a high school diploma. ”
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Bartholet, who is faculty director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard’s Law School, says she supports virtual learning so students can stay safe during the current health crisis, but is concerned about the safety of children because more and more parents choose to attend home school permanently.
“One of the greatest protections for children from abuse and neglect has been the protection of the mandated reporter system, which means that some people are appointed as mandated reporters and must then report suspected abuse and neglect,” a she declared. “Teachers are mandated journalists […] and they are the largest group of people who report abuse and neglect to child welfare authorities. ”