Can you tell us about why you came out here today?
We got an invitation to attend an event that Step Up for Students was going to have, and since we really liked the program we thought maybe there’d be some resources to learn more about some things that are available through the Gardiner program.
Could you tell us more about the Gardiner program?
This is Nicholas’s first academic year in the program. It’s something that a friend of ours told us about because he’s homeschooled, so we have to buy all the books and all the electronics, plus some stuff to do everything he needs to do at home. This program just really helps us to be able to do that and afford it.
Have you always been homeschooled Nick or were you in a different school?
We started homeschooling in January, or for a little longer than a year now. Since we started it’s been really good for our family, it’s been great. Unfortunately the public school system doesn’t have the infrastructure for special needs kids to support them the way they really need in order to learn. We found that one-on-one homeschooling is a much, much better situation for us.
“We found that one-on-one homeschooling is a much, much better situation for us.”
Nick, what do you like most about being at home now?
I like the learning and the reading. I love to do all the different programs. We keep, we keep changing it around, so he doesn’t get bored with any one particular thing and he has his breaks. Actually in May, we’re going to be attending the homeschooling convention in Orlando, so that’s going to be great too.
Is this your first time ever homeschooling? Did you plan on doing it before COVID happened?
This is our first year, and with COVID, it was just pure luck. We just withdrew him in December of 2019 and everything just happened. It was pretty crazy, but came out pretty good in the end.
What do you think about school choice in Florida? Why do you think that it’s important.
The public school systems have more of a cookie cutter approach. They just apply the same program to every student and not every kid is the same kind of learner. Every kid learns with different special needs. And special needs kids learn completely different than typical kids. Sometimes they need more than one teacher, even for eight or nine students. Sometimes they need one teacher on one student and they just don’t have the ability to do that. But we can do that at home, so we’re happy to have the opportunity.
“My message to policy makers in Florida would be to remember that all kids learn different and that homeschooling is an option that should always be available to parents.”
What would you say to policy makers in Florida or in other states?
My message to policy makers in Florida would be to remember that all kids learn different and that homeschooling is an option that should always be available to parents. It should not be difficult to withdraw your kid from the system, it should be a little bit easier to be able to do that. Please continue to support programs like Gardiner and homeschooling programs that give these kids an opportunity to learn.