Some families choose to homeschool rather than send children back to school this fall

Back to School

OMAHA, Neb. (KETV) – Many parents are hoping to be able to send their kids back to school full time, but there is a rising interest in homeschooling from families who don’t feel safe sending their children back to the classroom.

JazLyn, an 8-year-old, is going into third grade, but she won’t be returning to her school building.

“I’m 72. I have diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD, and my husband also has high blood pressure. So, we’re feeling very uncomfortable about sending her to school,” said Janet McCleaney, JazLyn’s grandmother and guardian.

McCleaney and her husband adopted Jazzy. The couple worries about their health because they said they’re all Jazzy’s got.

“I definitely refuse to send her to school because I’m worried about me not being there to take care of her,” said McCleaney.

The Nebraska Department of Education said numerous families have called wanting to know more about homeschooling because of the pandemic.

“Between the two of us, we did very well with the remote learning that they had when school closed down in March, and we feel we could do this ourselves,” said McCleaney.

Families have to send paperwork to the state for the “exempt school” program. The state does not provide materials or direct what families teach, however, there are outside support networks.

Kathryn Dillow, president of Nebraska Homeschool, said the organization provides resources and guidance. She took several calls from new families on Wednesday alone.

“The whole idea of homeschooling can be daunting, especially if it wasn’t on your radar that this was something you even wanted to try. It’s a matter of finding how the child learns best, maybe how mom and dad teach best, and then what curriculum style,” said Dillow.

For the McCleaney’s and Jazzy, homeschooling seems like the best decision for right now.

“At least temporarily. We don’t want this to be a permanent thing. It’s just until we can understand this disease a little bit further,” McCleaney said.

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