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Stavness family

“I always said, ‘I'm so grateful I get to be mom to my three daughters, and someone else can be their teacher.’ What the pandemic revealed is that there's no difference between mom and teacher – it's all lumped into one.”

“When COVID hit, two of our daughters were in public district schools and the third wasn’t in school yet. Online school took us hours, and then you’d click a button and everything would be gone. I thought I could do a better job. That's what gave me the courage to try it – things couldn't get worse.”

“We had never considered homeschooling so, like a lot of people, I didn’t have a concept of what it looked like. It’s not taking the public school format and bringing it home. We add practical life applications to what we’re studying so, when we’re studying trees, we go hiking and look for them. When we're studying money, we go to the store and they can add things up with me. It’s completely different than sitting in a classroom all day long. That model is so boring. No wonder kids hate learning and get burnt out.”

“We also moved to Idaho during that time, which is more friendly to homeschooling than California, where we’re from. Since there are so many homeschoolers in Idaho, sometimes we learn as a community, so our kids are never lacking for socialization. When we moved, we found out about Tech Trep, which is kind of a hybrid. They’re enrolled in a public school district, but homeschooling. I get to pick the curriculum I want and we get help with funding.”

“That’s huge because it’s hard to do on a single income, but there's also no amount of money that would make me go back. At home, I'm able to tailor education to their needs and wants while focusing on things that will launch them into the world as productive citizens. It just seems crazy to stick all kids in one educational system and think it's gonna go well.”

“Homeschooling has taken a total reworking in my mind of what education looks like for our family. We had to change our perspective on what our goal is for our children when they leave home, which is to be fully-functioning adults who love learning so they will keep seeking. Most of the negative things we see in our culture are caused by the breakdown of the family. So, strengthening our family has become the bigger, overarching goal and vision for homeschooling and education. They’re not being taught by someone else in a situation where I have no idea what that person will teach them.”

“Some of my friends say they could never homeschool. I thought those same things, but there are so many resources. It’s not for everyone, but that's the great thing about school choice: You can send your kids anywhere you want.”

“If you see a red flag and think there must be a better way – there is. If you’re on the fence, make a brave choice and try.”

Holly Stavness
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

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The Center for American Education works with state legislators, policymakers, and parents to promote transformational change to our state and national education system so that it best serves the families and students who utilize it. We conduct research on and advocate for policies that empower students and their families and prepare individuals to pursue academic truth, advance knowledge, and contribute to the growth of a strong moral order and prosperous society.
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