KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 13, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
Many Katy families have decided to homeschool their children instead of choosing one of Katy ISD’s options for either face-to-face instruction or virtual classes.
The Martinez children work on homeschool together. Photo credit: Karina Marrinez.
Katy Families See Homeschool Benefits
The coronavirus pandemic has forced families to consider how their children will get their education. Even with Katy ISD offering families the option of in-person or virtual learning, some families are already seeing huge benefits from choosing to homeschool their children.
“I wanted to control our bubble,” says Katy mom Dana Sitton. “With my husband and I both working from home, this would be the best option for us to be involved in their education and in control of the schedule.”
Tabitha Floyd opted out of the Katy Virtual Academy offered by the District.
“We decided to homeschool because we did not want the stress of dealing with the school district that really didn’t seem to have a plan concerning COVID,” says Tabitha Floyd.
A Good Option For Special Needs Children
The Floyds have a second-grade daughter and a kindergarten son. Their son has some learning disabilities and they did not see how he would be able to sit in front of a computer screen for a full day.
“We decided both should homeschool that way they would be on the same schedule,” says Floyd.
Karina Marrinez has 11-year-old twins, a son and daughter and 13-year-old daughter.
“The kids love it because it’s at their own pace and there is no wasted time,” says Karina Marrinez. “It’s easier to focus at home.”
All of the Marrinez children have various special needs and health issues.
“When you have kids with disabilities you know how to work with them and know if you see a downfall you can pick them up,” says Marrinez. “They don’t need medication anymore.”
Flexibility and Curriculum Control
Homeschooling provides families the flexibility to select the programs best suited for their children.
“I can choose the curriculum and alter to their needs and interests,” says Sitton. “We can incorporate a Christian take on it and incorporate more hands-on subjects like cooking and sewing.”
Other families use homeschool opportunities to introduce other projects.
“We are learning how to manage money and make art fun,” says Marrinez. “We are making painted crosses and selling them online. The money they make will be donated and some will go to their savings.” (Photo: Hunter and Hayden Sitton. Photo Credit: Dana Sitton.)
Marrinez says this is a great way to teach her children how to be entrepreneurs and how to give back to the community.
Sitton was a teacher before she had children. Hunter is now in second grade, Hayden is in kindergarten, and Haddie turns two in November.
“I never saw myself homeschooling my kids,” says Sitton. “I feel social interaction is imperative for development.”
Connecting with Other Families
Fortunately, many Katy families are finding that they are not alone navigating homeschooling in this pandemic world.
“We’ve connected with Katy families in the same age group that have taken the same path,” says Sitton. “It’s wonderful because my kids can relate to kids doing the same thing.”
The biggest challenge has been their ages,” says Sitton. “Keeping Haddie entertained is a challenge but it’s also a blessing for them to get to spend so much time with her at this age.”
Floyd says their biggest challenge comes from family members who are concerned they will not teach their children what they need to know for their grade level.
“We believe everyone had a tough choice to make for this school year and having to explain our choice over and over again is not easy,” says Floyd.
But the Floyds do enjoy their kids not being exhausted after a day of school, plus the flexibility in their schedules.
“We can go to the different therapies needed and bring our work with us, or complete the work at home at our pace,” says Floyd. “The other beautiful thing is you know what your child is learning and do not have to wait for a weekly schedule or have to coax is out of your child.”
Find the Best Fit for Each Kid and Family
“Education will evolve from this,” says Sitton. “It’s about finding the best fit for each kid and family as a whole.”
Haddie looks on while Hayden and Hunter learn through movement. Photo Credit: Dana Sitton
“My son now spends more time with his Dad,” says Marrinezz. “It is amazing how my husband and son have grown closer - when you have a father that works hard for them to have the time to enjoy and recognize each other’s accomplishments.”
Homeschooling is an option that works for many Katy families and helps them navigate the pandemic environment together.
“This is a special opportunity to spend this time with them,” says Sitton. “And watch them grow.”