NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — When Rep. Tim Burchett (R—Tennessee) was asked by reporters what he wants to see done to protect his daughter in the wake of The Covenant School shooting, he said, “well, we homeschool her.”
Those comments were met with a lot of criticism online but also mirrored a conversation taking place in Facebook groups across Middle Tennessee with Moms declaring the recent mass shooting is making them consider making a change in their child’s education.
One of the founders of the National Home Education Research Institute said this reaction to violence isn’t new.
“Parents for over 20 years have said one of the main reasons for homeschooling is a safe environment for children and their home is a safe environment,” said homeschooling researcher Brian D. Ray.
But Ray adds while homeschooling is doable for everyone regardless of socioeconomic status and background, it isn’t necessarily for everyone.
“It’s not for the lazy people. It’s for the people who want to put effort into it,” he said.
He also stressed that if someone is interested in homeschooling, there are resources and communities out there that can provide support.
Middle Tennessee mom of two Jennifer Perkins said she found homeschooling her 9 and 11-year-old difficult at first but says it is now a rewarding and smooth experience.
“Think of it like starting a new job. It’s always so hard in the beginning and stressful and you don’t know what you are doing and you are getting to know the system and everything,” Perkins said. “Then you can go, ‘this is good, I can move on up, I can excel, I can try new things,’ it’s the same thing with homeschooling.”
Other parents are homeschooling their kids in small groups with other families. It’s a system they set up during the pandemic but have kept going because they have found it so rewarding.
“We can kind of really create what we want out of it and tailor it to what works for the children and what works for us as parents, the flexibility is huge for us,” said Rachel Taylor.
However, she and another mom in her group say the flexibility and personalized learning come at a cost.
“It’s a large financial investment, which we share, it’s also a time investment because we are the administrators of the school so we spend a lot of time making decisions about the school,” said fellow homeschooling Mom, Megan Michaels.
In addition to making sure parents who homeschool are in compliance with state law, critics of this reaction to school shootings warn that shootings can happen everywhere at any time. And some of the discussions, different forms of education and collaboration that can happen in a traditional school setting can also be beneficial for kids.