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Tracking the pandemic's impact on homeschooling in Arizona

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Posted at 10:12 AM, Aug 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-07 13:12:47-04

It's 10 a.m. on a weekday and sixth grade is officially in session at the living room table for 11-year-old Natalie.

Her mom, Lisa Baker, never planned to homeschool her daughter, but then came COVID-19 and school closures. All the unknowns led Baker's family to make the homeschool transition in 2020. With help from a tutor, therapists, and other resources, Baker says Natalie is thriving.

"It's really been great for her," said Baker. "I'm not against sending her to school in the future. I had thought about it and then we started seeing the delta variant and the surge coming back and we said, 'you know, this is going pretty well, let's just go ahead and take another year.'"

Data from the Maricopa County Superintendent's Office shows just more than 6,300 homeschool affidavits filed in 2020. That is nearly triple the amount filed in 2019.

maricopa county superintendent office chart.png

Up until June of this year, the number of affidavits filed in 2021 outpaced 2020, but with the bulk of filings happening in July through September, only time will tell if the upward trend continues.

Baker is the first to say homeschooling is not for everyone, but she credits the pandemic with opening her eyes to the opportunity.

"Never say never, right?" Baker said. "Because when things change and you look at something like, okay, I really felt like I needed to step up for this."

The Maricopa County Superintendent's Office tells ABC15 it is tough to know exactly how many families are homeschooling because some parents do not file an affidavit. That is required within 30 days of choosing to homeschool your child.

Click here for more information on the process and required documents.