LIVINGSTON, Mont. – The COVID-19 pandemic started a trend of families choosing homeschool over in-person learning, but a resurgence is being felt with cases on the rise again at the beginning of the new school year.
According to the Montana Office of Public Instruction, the 2020-2021 school year saw 9,868 students being homeschooled statewide and right now, county superintendents around the state are tallying up numbers coming in to start the school year.
Park County Superintendent of Schools Mollie Waldum said so far this school year they have had 80 registered homeschooled families compared to the 156 homeschooled families from the 2020-2021.
Gallatin County's Office of the Superintendent of Schools said they had around 825 homeschooled students around Oct. 1, 2020, and right now are at around 600 and are still seeing more register. For reference, Gallatin County finished the school year with 1,577 homeschooled students.
Hannah Roseberry, with help from other community organizations, set up the first homeschool resource fair on Sept. 8 at Sacajawea Park in Livingston with 30 booths set up with sign-up sheets for all sorts of educational workshops and homeschooling resources.
Heather McCord browsed the booths with her daughter Calista and said they switched to homeschooling last year during the pandemic and will stick with it for this school year after moving into the area and having trouble keeping up with online classes.
“With a new reader it was really hard cause she would get lost in the online curriculum, so I’d have to kind of go back and rewatch everything and she was just disengaging from that computerized format, so we wanted to do something a little more interactive," Heather McCord said.
Park County has homeschool information that can be found here.
You can find more information on homeschooling in Montana here.