LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The COVID-19 pandemic pushed families to rethink their options on how to best educate their children. The U.S. Census Bureau found a sharp increase in families taking up home schooling since the start of the pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • A Louisville family switched to home schooling because of the pandemic

  • Their mom wanted to keep the kids at home because of health concerns, but knew NTI was not working for their family 

  • U.S. Census Bureau data reveals the number of U.S. households that were home schooling doubled at the start of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the year prior

  • The Hackmans have been enjoying home schooling so far

The Hackman's morning routine is different from most. Mom Angela Hackman home-schools all three of her kids.

They aim to start their day at 8:30 a.m. Her kindergartner, Maria, and fourth grade student, Audrey, both walked down the stairs right on time. Her 5th grade child, Charles, is still in bed because he did more of his assignments yesterday, so that he could stay up late to watch the U.K. basketball game.

They now have that flexibility.

“If he stays up late or we have a really busy weekend, we can take it easy on a Monday,” Hackman said.

Angela, Audrey and Maria all walk down the hall and into their in-home classroom. There's a small desk in the middle of the room. That's where mom and Maria have a seat to start working on math assignments.

“I try to focus on her [Maria] in the morning and kind of get her stuff out of the way," Hackman said.

Maria's school work is more hands-on than the older kids. They sit at the small table playing a card game. While you could find Maria smiling and having fun, it was actually a math lesson. The kindergarten student has to determine if any of the cards she is holding are greater than the ones already on the table.

While mom and Maria play that math card game, Audrey is across the room at another desk. She sits in front of her computer with her headphones in listening to a history lesson. 

“We found a curriculum that is really nice. It does audio and has stories embedded into it and my kids love stories," Hackman said.

For this particular lesson, Audrey learns about the formation of the House of Representatives and the Senate. 

Mom and Maria continue lessons moving on to some writing and some reading.

By around 10 a.m., Maria is done for the day and leaves the in-home school room to run to the living room to play with blocks. As she does, she finds her brother Charles is now up and ready to roll.

As soon as Audrey finished her history lesson, she joins her mom and Charles at the kitchen table for a grammar lesson. Audrey is in 4th grade and Charles is in 5th. Since they are so close in grades, they do a majority of their lessons together.

Angela Hackman is home schooling her kids Audrey and Charles. (Spectrum News 1/Amber Smith)

“That’s why I couldn’t do a curriculum that was grade specific. Because I would be running like a chicken with my head cut off," said Hackman. 

Finding the right curriculum has been a learning curve, as the family is still pretty new to home schooling.

“I was on some Facebook groups, so I was able to kind of see that people use all different kinds of curriculum and get a sense that there’s variety. There’s no one best,” Hackman said.

Her kids had always been attending school in-person, just like most. However, the pandemic shifted their thinking on a lot of things.

“With COVID, things were very uncertain,” said Hackman.

Angela is a physician and still works several days a month at a VA clinic. With that health care background, she didn't feel comfortable with the idea of her kids going back to school in-person when that started coming up as a possibility.

On top of that, her mother, who watches the kids while she goes to work, is battling cancer. That puts her at a higher risk of severe illness if she were to contract COVID-19.

“It was better for my peace of mind to have them home, so we kind of worked our life around that concept,” Hackman said.

She said she never would have considered home schooling before the pandemic. She wanted them at home, but didn't feel like NTI was working well for anyone in her family. That's what led her to look into home schooling and eventually making the switch.

The Hackmans are not alone. U.S. Census Bureau data reveals the number of U.S. households that were home schooling doubled at the start of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the year prior.

So far, it seems like they are enjoying this new way of life. For Audrey, it means being able to move at her own pace, which she said she likes.

“At school we had to help the ones who didn’t understand and the ones who did understand were just like waiting around," said Hackman.

It also means more time with one another.

Hackman said she knows it is unusual to cut down hours as a physician, a high-paying job, in order to home-school her kids. While it isn't conventional, she said she has really been enjoying it.