Chicago-area parents turn to unique homeschooling options as fall approaches, coronavirus pandemic continues

BERWYN, Ill. (WLS) -- Parents in Berwyn, Chicago and across the area are getting creative in how they plan to educate their children this fall.

"There is seating for 10; I just need seating for three or four," CPS parent Brenda Delgado says.

Seating, a fire pit and a heater -- Delgado plans to convert her backyard into a classroom for the fall. And on bad weather days, her huge dining room table will be the backup.

"With two kids in the corner and some windows open and masks on -- that to me is much safer than having a classroom with 15 kids," Delgado said

Pods of 15 is the tentative in-school learning plan for Chicago Public Schools students in K-10th grades, but with grandparents in the house, this CPS mom of three, does not want to risk sending her kids back to the classroom and potentially bringing home COVID-19.

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"Grandma's health is not on the table. That is non-negotiable for us as a family," she said.

So, Delgado plans to pool together resources with other parents by hiring a college tutor to help with homeschooling. Their pods will only be a handful of kids.

"We can get together two or three times a week with two best friends, one time at my house, one time at another house," she said.

Homeschooling with another family is the plan for Alexios Rosario-Moore. The Berwyn father of a preschooler, Rosario-Moore is also an education professor. He is putting together a community learning model for other parents to follow.

"We view this as an opportunity to connect as community members, draw open knowledge and skills of the community, help out children understand the world they live in," Rosario-Moore said.

Rosario-Moore and Delgado have said if the community works together, homeschooling can work for working parents and families of all income levels

As parents develop creative ways to educate their kids, they agree it is no replacement for the classroom and a teacher. Parents hope homeschooling will only last through the fall.
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