LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — COVID-19 has disrupted so many aspects of our lives, including education. A new study shows homeschooling is gaining in popularity at a record rate.
A new elementary school is open in Lee’s Summit where Melissa Baldwin is the administrator, teacher, lunch lady and janitor.
It’s Baldwin Prep Academy’s first year in operation. Emily Baldwin, in pre-K, and third-grader Charly Baldwin are the school’s only students.
“I started out with third grade for her, but if I need to go up, I can go up. If I need to go down, I can go down,” Baldwin said of the curriculum she’s chosen for Charly.
“I joke with her about Meet the Teacher Day is going to be on Monday, and we’re gonna talk about the curriculum and everything, but I think she will probably just call me ‘Mom.’”
Homeschooling her third-grader was a difficult decision for Baldwin, who has an elementary education degree and taught for three years 15 years ago.
She had issues with what she calls transparency in the Lee’s Summit School District, and after hearing her daughter would have 35 children in her Online Academy class, Baldwin decided she could do better.
“If I’m going to have my third-grader home, I’m going to do it my way,” Baldwin said. “I’m completely nervous. I don’t wanna mess it up”
A new Gallup poll shows 10% of parents across the nation are choosing to homeschool their children in 2020. That’s doubles previous years.
Home School Legal Defense Association educational consultant Dr. Rochelle Matthews-Somerville isn’t surprised with the surge in homeschooling. She’s happy that so many parents like Baldwin are valuing homeschooling as a real option for their children.
“It’s a big investment. It’s an investment in your family, but it’s worth it,” Matthews-Somerville said.
Baldwin hasn’t pulled all of her children from the Lee’s Summit School District. She’s leaving her seventh-grader and freshman in Online Academy because both take advanced and specialized classes.
“They are just over my head, and I feel like I couldn’t teach those to them,” Baldwin said.
She plans to bring religion into her curriculum, which isn’t part of the public school experience. She’s also enrolled her third-grader in gymnastics and set up play dates to continue to develop her socialization skills.
Baldwin said she’ll see how it goes and decide how to move forward with all of her children next year.