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Coronavirus concerns and campus closures fuel surging interest in homeschooling


Heather Siani is a homeschooling Indio mother of three.

She is also a charter school teacher at Mission Vista Academy.

She says she is well aware of the anxiety that many parents are feeling right now as they make hard choices about the upcoming fall semester.

"A lot of parents are concerned with the amount of screen time that kids are sitting in front of and a teacher can only do so much through Zoom," said Siani. 

With Governor Newsom ordering most public school campuses closed and directing most districts to provide only "distance learning" to start the year, Siani says she is not surprised to see the surging interest in homeschooling.

She says of her friends that are not already homeschooling, more than half are asking her about it.

She tells them it's "hard work" and that it "requires patience and flexibility".

She also says it can be "extremely rewarding".

"It's an amazing blessing in my life to be able to come alongside my children to encourage them in what they find exciting and to meet them where they are struggling as well," said Siani.

The Homeschool Association of California is also reporting increased calls and interest.

Prior to the pandemic, the association hosted Homeschooling 101 classes for parents, in person, twice a year.  

Now they're offering the class online every two weeks. 

Linda Maepa is a board member for the Homeschool Association of California.

"We're seeing people coming into local and state and national homeschooling groups asking questions, being educated, being comforted and being guided as the community has always done," said Maepa.

A recent survey by online educational platform Outschool shows more than 60% of parents are not comfortable sending their children back to school until a coronavirus vaccine is available. 

Almost 40% of parents say school closures have made them more likely to consider homeschooling.

"Parents want to be able to give their kids personalized education, get them off the computer and get them on to pen and paper or getting out there to experience," said Siani.

The homeschooling trend has a financial impact for California's public school districts.

For every student that withdraws this year, a district will lose thousands of dollars in state funding known as ADA, or "average daily attendance".

For example, a representative for the Palm Springs Unified School District tells News Channel 3 the district's ADA is more than $11,800. The representative says a "handful" of students are leaving the district to be homeschooled.

Heather Siani recommends the following online resources for parents who are considering homeschooling their children:


Brain Quest workbooks -

Master Books curriculum -

Cathy Duffy Reviews -

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