Kids across Texas are getting ready to go back to in-person learning, but a lot of parents are worried about the spread of COVID-19 and the safety of their kids. And for that reason, home schooling is taking off.
It may seem like a scary thing, but home-school advocates said parents got a taste of what to expect with virtual school. They also said parents may be more ready to home school than they realize.
SEE RELATED STORY: Home school experts offer advice on how to handle virtual learning
"You have already taught this child how to eat with a spoon, go potty, say 'Yes ma'am' and 'No ma'am'. You have already been teaching them for five years," said Jube Dankworth of Texas Home Educators. "So what makes you think you cannot continue to teach them?"
Dankworth home-schooled her four kids and now is the C.O.O. of Texas Home Educators.
She said if parents are considering home school, they can withdraw their kids from public school at any time. So, it's never too late to start.
Advocates said about 750,000 Texas students are home-schooled. The number increased during the pandemic, and interest is not slowing down now.
"Our call volume and contact volume doubled last week. We went from 300 to 500 calls to 1,000," said Tim Lambert with the Texas Home School Coalition.
Lambert said the pandemic is a driving force toward the alternative way of learning.
"We are hearing parents who are saying, 'You know, I am real uncomfortable with the situation in the schools', 'I do not want my kids to wear a mask', 'I do want my kids to wear a mask.'"
If parents decide to home-school but feel it is not working out, their elementary and middle school students can re-enroll in public school with a placement test. But be aware that high school students can face costly tests to get course work credits needed for graduation.
A recent poll suggests those who started home schooling plan to stay with it.
"Seventy-two percent said that they were going to continue to home school, 19% said they were going back to brick and mortar school and 9% said they were undecided," said Lambert.
Home-school children cannot participate in public school extracurricular activities, but they do have other options. They have football, basketball and baseball teams, as well as cheer, debate and music options.
If you are interested in learning more, there are some resources on the Texas Home School Coalition website.