As parents are faced with the decision of whether their children should have in-person or virtual learning in the weeks to come, more are choosing to take matters into their own hands by homeschooling.
Kyle and Hannah Kirkman were excited for their oldest, 5-year-old Bowen, to start kindergarten in Waxahachie this fall.
They’d even built a new house to get rezoned for the public school they thought would serve him best.
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"He was going to be in a new school, new teachers, new friends, all of that,” said Kyle Kirkman.
But after kindergarten registration in June, Hannah realized the pandemic still posed too many challenges to send her oldest.
"It's inevitable. Someone's going to test positive. Someone's going to come into contact with someone who tests positive, so I think the inconsistency was a big thing for us,” said Hannah Kirkman.
After pre-K moved online this past spring, the Kirkmans were convinced learning via iPad simply wasn’t the answer for their son.
“There is absolutely no way that he would do virtual learning,” said Hannah.
“Yeah. He has the attention span of a goldfish sometimes,” said Kyle Kirkman.
Instead, like a lot of their friends, they decided to homeschool Bowen with a faith-based curriculum.
In July alone, the Texas Homeschool Coalition says it processed more than 3,000 public school withdrawal requests. That’s more than 15 times what it saw in July of 2019.
It expects come August, that number could be even higher.
And though the Kirkmans say they’re moving forward cautiously, they’re excited for the flexibility it will provide with three other little ones at home.
They’re still not sure whether this will be the plan for all of Bowen’s schooling or just kindergarten, but they say they’re simply rolling with the punches the pandemic’s dealt.
"I think with COVID, everyone's learning to adapt. And I think that's the best we can do is adapt to the situation around us. There's really no way around it,” said Hannah.