The uncertainty over school reopening plans has more parents in New Hampshire exploring the option of homeschooling for the first time.
Two of the state’s major homeschooling groups - New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition and Granite State Home Educators - are seeing a surge of traffic on their websites, membership in their Facebook groups, and requests for support.
The New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition says the number of visits to their website doubled over the last month, and Granite State Home Educators has organized virtual and in-person info sessions to meet the demand.
“At the Home Education Advisory Council meetings, all of the homeschool organizations have reported that they are seeing a major increase of inquiries [about] homeschooling around the state. It is not isolated to a handful of communities,” says Michelle Levell, director and cofounder of Granite State Home Educators.
Melissa Wolfe, of Brentwood, is one of many parents considering homeschooling because of concerns about the safety and quality of school during the pandemic.
A former teacher, Wolfe worries her four kids won't do well with a remote or hybrid model, so she plans on giving homeschooling a try.
“This is a great opportunity for me to tweak their curriculum and really teach what I think they're going to need in order to be successful adults,” she explains.
Wolfe has offered to teach other students from families concerned about sending their kids back to school. She says even if teachers try to be as safe as possible, there are too many unknowns.
"Other parents and other families who maybe aren't as vigilant as we are - there's no way to control that huge community,” she says.
Parents are required to notify the state, their school, or their district, within five days of homeschooling for the first time. The state’s homeschooling laws can be found here.
COVID and The Classroom: NHPR wants to understand how this unusual school year is playing out across the state. Every few weeks, we'll ask you to answer a new question. The latest: How has going back to school been different for you this year? Give us a few examples here to help us tell the story.