As parents consider taking either the traditional or virtual options for their children as the first day of the school year approaches, we spoke with one local mother who opted for a third choice - home schooling.
"Virtual classroom on top of us working remote didn't seem like a feasible option for us, so if that wasn't doable and we weren't happy with the in-person class options, then home school became the most obvious choice for us," Leah Stinnett, a local parent, said.
Stinnett's daughter was set to start kindergarten at Madison City Schools. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, Stinnett and her husband decided to home school her instead.
"We were weighing out safety, we were weighing out if she was going to be able to learn in an environment where they're sitting in a desk all day and not having freedom of movement, freedom to interact with children around them, and then we looked at virtual and if that was going to be doable," she said.
Stinnett said it wasn't an easy decision, and she still has concerns about home schooling, like social interaction.
"Finding her ways to socialize with children her age that (are) safe," she said.
But she says, overall, homeschooling will provide her with a more flexible and efficient way of teaching her daughter in the short-term.
"We can do school early in the morning, late in the afternoon and even on Saturday's and she's going to get plenty of learning and instructional time, and it's not going to impact our work schedule as much as the virtual or in-house options would at this point," she said.
Stinnett said the family will see how this school year goes and decide if they'll keep their child in home schooling or let her go to a traditional school once the pandemic ends.
She said she knows deciding what school option is best for your children right now is difficult on parents, but says it ultimately comes down for what's best for the parents and the child.