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More Omaha parents looking for alternative options as new school year approaches

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Many kids in the metro will be heading back to school on Monday, but national statistics show thousands of parents are looking for other options when it comes to schooling.

OPS didn't get back to us on official numbers for their virtual school on Friday but one local mom who has been homeschooling for twenty years says she's seen the Omaha homeschooling community nearly double within the last year.

School is back in session for most of the Omaha metro this Monday, but not all those kids will be heading to a classroom.

A lot of them will be learning from the comfort of their own home.

"I know just in the last week with all of the changes and instability of people not knowing what to expect, I've definitely seen an uptick on people asking how to get started," says Susan Plummer.

Homeschooling isn't just growing locally, It's grown on a national level too.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, homeschoolers grew from just over 2.6 million in 2019 to over 5 million in March of 2021.

Plummer has been a homeschool teacher for over 20 years.

She says the first thing you need to do is head to the Department of Education and fill out the proper paperwork.

Then it's up to you and your student what happens after that.

Plummer says, "You can go completely online where your student just does everything on the computer. There are curriculums that you buy and it's kind of a boxed curriculum and you do all of that. There are people, sometimes you want to pick out different things and there's homeschool Facebook groups."

The Omaha Virtual School is another option that's becoming popular.

This year, OPS opened up 400 additional spots to accommodate parents who wanted the option to learn at home.

The virtual school is a blended option so kids are in-person at least one day a week.

Plummer says figuring out how you want to homeschool can be overwhelming at first, but says the good news is there's a lot of support in the community.

"I have known people who homeschooled everywhere from very traditional to very untraditional and watched all those kids come through and be successful at many different things," she says.

If you’re interested in homeschooling, resources can be found here and here.

There’s also a Facebook group for homeschoolers who live in the Omaha area that can be found here.

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The Omaha Virtual School is still accepting applications. The application can be found here.

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