My name is Linda Crosby and my daughter is Nora Crosby. She is 16 years old and in tenth grade. She has an ESA because she has a speech and language impairment.
When we first started on the ESA program was when we first found out about her disability. I was checking for reading comprehension and I read a chapter from a book when she was 11 and she couldn’t remember much from the chapter. We just went, ‘oh my stars, we need to get some help.’
We found a reading therapist and as homeschoolers we qualify for testing through the public school system. She got an IEP for speech language and impairment. We qualified for 30 minutes a week for reading therapy. We thought that was not good enough for the help we needed. So we found another reading therapist that she started going to once we got the ESA. That was four hours a week.
“My daughter has self-confidence now. She’s a happier kid. She’s able to do her work independently now. She doesn’t feel less than with her education anymore.”
After two years of the reading therapy, which was a lot of active work, skipping and jumping and bouncing and throwing. Crossing over the midline of the brain to help improve memory. After two years of that, I read to her a chapter from a Little House on the Prairie book and I asked her to write down what she remembered, and she wrote down four pages of information. It dramatically changed her life for the better.
My daughter has self-confidence now. She’s a happier kid. She’s able to do her work independently now. She doesn’t feel less than with her education anymore. We’re just so thankful that the Arizona legislature came up with this so that kids could get their needs met right where they are, and that she could stay home for school and not go to a school where she would be with kids where she would feel like she didn’t belong because of where her learning was.
You want your kids to succeed at whatever they do. There are so many people that qualify for ESA, but don’t know about it and the kids are suffering through wherever they are. It’s available and they could be using it. Their lives could be so much better, taking out whatever the struggle is, whether it be bullying or special needs that need to be met or having tutors come into your home, there’s just a better way than having your kids suffer where they are.
ESA puts all the power and control in our hands. We are in the nineteenth year of homeschooling so we realized that a long time ago. We wanted to pick the curriculum, we wanted to choose our own schedule, and be the key influencers in our kids’ lives. That’s what we’ve done. It’s just been phenomenal for all four of our kids.
Even though my children were homeschooled, they were still able to participate in public school activities. My boys both participated in marching band, another one played on the golf team. Then when we figured out that Nora needed more help, we had her do the online public school to qualify for ESA.
“Parents know their children best. Every child is different. I have four kids and they have four learning styles.”
It’s so important for parents to have school choice because we are the ones responsible for our children. We are the ones who should have the control over our children’s education. I just believe it’s a parent’s right to choose for their children. Parents know their children best. Every child is different. I have four kids and they have four learning styles. Two of my kids’ needs would not have been met in the school situation. One of my sons was a late reader. There was nothing wrong with him, he was just a late reader, but had he been in public school, he would have been in special education and didn’t really need it. It was a blessing for us to have control over his education, because we could let him run around and learn how he likes to learn. Parents know their kids best and they have their best interests at heart, so I believe parents should be choosing what they think is best for their kids.
“Arizona is fantastic. We have so much freedom and it’s a blessing for these families that might not realize it, that they can do what’s best for their kids.”
I understand families where both mom and dad work and they don’t have options, and there are some really good public schools in Arizona. At the same time, those who have an option to homeschool or choose another school, that’s their option and it’s available, but there will always be public school. It’s an option that a lot of families still need.