KEDC piloting program to support home-educated students

KEDC piloting program to support home-educated students
Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 11:02 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A new report from the Washington Post details the country’s fastest-growing form of education -- home schooling. In Kentucky, enrollment is up 56 percent since 2017.

Stephanie Wilson has served as both a home educator and a public-school teacher, so she saw the challenges that the pandemic brought on education firsthand.

“Being at home and being on lockdown had an effect on everyone, and it had a real effect on our students across the state,” said Wilson. “I taught during covid, I taught first graders to read online, t wasn’t easy, but it can be done!”

So she’s not surprised to see the sharp rise in home schooled children. In Pulaski County alone, The Post says that number has gone up by 75% since 2017.

“Across the board, what I’m hearing and what I saw after covid was just a lack of engagement,” said Wilson, who is now a deeper learning specialist at Kentucky Educational Development Corporation (KEDC).

Wilson knows that could have adverse effects on funding for school districts. But she says what’s important is getting each student back to being as engaged and successful as possible.

“we’re just helping them bridge that gap,” Wilson said. “As a former homeschooler, I know how expensive high-quality curriculums are.”

As more and more families explore home education, Wilson says they’re piloting a virtual academy called New Horizons, which will connect them with the resources they need.

“They continue their education, they get free access to a curriculum that’s high quality,” said Wilson. “There are certain situations that I know of right now, where this is the only option for these kids, and it’s an equity issue if they do not have access to something.”

Wilson says the KEDC program will also offer hybrid classes to students who have to work or fulfill other obligations. Their goal with New Horizons is to bring the best personalized learning they can to Kentuckians.