Homeschool, virtual learning requests up amid pandemic


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – As the pandemic rolls into the upcoming school year, parents across the CSRA look for the safest way to educate their children.

Parents have two options when it comes to sending their kids back to school: have them go in person or stay at home and choose the virtual learning option some districts are providing. But there is also a third option that some parents are considering and that’s homeschool.

“At 4-years-old, she knows 1 – 100, all of her ABCs and her colors. It’s a great tool,” said Sonjia Bush, whose granddaughter, Ava, has already started Pre-K.

But she’s not in school and she’s not going to be going there. Bush said her granddaughter is learning online at ABC Mouse. It’s a decision she made because she’s an educator who saw just how sickly children can be when together.

“Ava already told me Mema, I can’t breather with this on,” adding that kids will more than likely not wear their masks at school either.

So, she opted to get a virtual learning certificate online and said teaching kids over the internet may be difficult for some.

“What if it’s an elderly grandparent raising their grandchild? How are they going to work that out? Are they going to get behind? What’s going to happen? When I learned [virtual teaching online], the hardest thing was maneuvering through the internet. How to click on different links,” Bush said.

“I would recommend getting into a community,” said CSRA Kids Owner Brandy Mitchell.

Whether it’s a grandparent recently learning how to navigate the internet or a parent needing someone who is more savvy in a particular subject matter, Mitchell said those opting to tackle virtual learning or home school should not go at it alone. She added schools will guide parents and students selecting the district’s online option.

“I would definitely be in touch with the teacher. Let them know that you have difficulties in this area so they can make adjustments to make sure that they are meeting the educational needs of your child,” Mitchell explained. “On the other side of the coin, if you want to go at it alone, there are coops that you can join, you will be in a group with other parents and you can bounce ideas off of each other.”

Helping other parents through CSRA Kids, is something Janette Metz knows all about. The educator has been home schooling kids for 7 to 8 years.

She told us one of the first hurdles is knowing your child’s learning style.

“I’m very hands on,” she said. “I love using my hands because I love to craft and some of my kids are not that way.”

Some other challenges she mentioned include making sure you address your child’s needs based on their age. Younger kids have shorter attention spans.

She said parents need to also secure school supplies early so they can read and lesson plan ahead of when the kids receive the material.

She also said many new online school parents teach at the dinner table.

Metz added, “Buy a specific desk for the school. At the end of the day, even if you don’t pick up all the books and the assignments, you’re not stressed out about it at dinner time because now it’s dinner time and where are we going to eat.”

She said most of all, know that there will be good days and bad days.

These online educators said the most important part about choosing to homeschool is making sure that you connect with an online community. For more information about CSRA Kids, click here.

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