More families turning to homeschooling amid coronavirus pandemic

It was a different start to the school year for students throughout the Chicago area. Students in southwest suburban New Lenox were out Monday morning picking up packets for e-learning.

Many parents, however, are frustrated by schools reopening with e-learning only, saying they’re ready to try something different.

Homeschooling is an option that more and more families are turning to during the pandemic. One family pulled their kids out of Chicago Public Schools and is now teaching them at home.

Laurie DelFavero and her 11-year-old daughter Lia began fourth grade lessons at their dining room table Monday. Lia had been attending Sutherland Elementary in Beverly, but both she and her mom were disappointed after the switch to e-learning last March.

“Because it was really like basically we were doing everything over and over again. I already learned, my class, we already learned all the things,” said daughter Lia.

“E-learning last year just wasn’t up to our expectations,” mother Laurie said.

So when CPS announced it was going back to e-learning this fall, Lori and her husband decided to try something different with their two grade school children.

“We’re actually going to start doing some homeschooling. Thought about doing it before and it just seemed like the perfect time,” Laurie said.

The family sent the State Board of Education a form opting out of CPS and signed up with a private Christian homeschooling company that costs about $1,000 a year per student.

The lessons are a combination of online learning and personally supervised teaching by Laurie using books and tests supplied by the company.

“I don’t dream of being a homeschool mom. I am also a professional, so it’s not what I want to do all the time. But if it ends up being a better fit for them then we’ll make it work,” Laurie said.

FOX 32 was not able to get any hard numbers from the state or CPS about how many people are opting to homeschool right now. But the head of a homeschooling association in Illinois says their calls are up over 500%.

Laurie says they will likely send their kids back to CPS after the pandemic is over.