Anchorage homeschooling programs seeing a surge of interest

ASD transitioned schooling to online learning in March.
ASD transitioned schooling to online learning in March.(ktuu)
Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 2:59 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - With so much uncertainty around back-to-school plans, more parents are choosing homeschooling options.

“We couldn’t process the applications fast enough, so it is hard to put a quantifier on it, but double for sure, and every program would say the same. Everyone is doubling in size, I would say even triple,” Dr. Jessica Parker, principal for Family Partnership Charter School, said.

At Family Partnership, renovations were already underway to meet the growing demand in Anchorage when the pandemic hit.

“Parents are just scared and looking for options and choices, trying to figure out what they are going to do,” she said.

The school has reached its cap of 1,500 students, with an additional 1,000 currently on a waitlist.

“We are hiring teachers, this is pretty much my biggest focus right now as principal is to hire enough staff that share out homeschool philosophy,” she added.

Over at ASD’s PAIDEIA, which is a statewide online school, enrollment is also booming.

It currently has 200 students enrolled, with an additional 300 looking to get into the program.

“This year we have definitely received a lot more interest, I think it started back when schools had closed in the spring, and families kind of got an inkling that this might continue and so they started reaching out to us,” Douglas Gray, principal at PAIDEIA Cooperative school said.

Both options are among 35 correspondence programs funded by the State of Alaska.

“Homeschool is becoming a little bit more popular, and I feel like families are looking for something different, and so we are trying to fill that niche for them,” Gray said.

About 2.5 million U.S. children were homeschooled in 2019, that is about 3-4% of school-aged children, according to the National Home Education Research Institute.

ASD has three home-school options: PAIDEIA, Family Partnership Charter School, and Frontier Charter School.

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