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Tonawanda mom considering homeschooling versus in-school

"What's school going to look like? Is it going to look like baby jail?"
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Posted at 6:00 AM, Jul 31, 2020

CITY OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — “I have long hair,” declared Ariella Popovich to her younger sister.

The 12-year-old Tonawanda girl was playing with her younger sister, six-year-old Aurora.

They were drawing while at their mother's Tonawanda photography studio.

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The 12-year-old Tonawanda girl was playing with her younger sister, Aurora, 6.

Both are students in the Tonawanda City School District.

Friday marks the deadline for school districts to submit reopening plans to the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

But for so many parents, they are uncertain about sending their children back to school.

“My fear is school — as they know it — is not what we are going back to, if we can go back,” remarked her mother Jessica Popovich.

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Jessica Popovich, mother, busy at her photographer studio.

Popovich a busy working mother of four children.

Popovich said as her district rolls out a reopening plan she's weighing all her children's education options including home schooling.

“I would like to homeschool because our house is already very active. We foster a lot of animals. We're very hands on — hiking — walking experience,” Popovich noted.

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6-year-old Aurora at home with a duck.

Popovich also has two sons, eight and two years old.

And although she admits remote learning didn't go very well for all her kids, she is thinking about homeschooling for some of them.

“My 12 year old could handle it on her own. My eight year old would cry. My six year old had no interest at all — whatsoever - she would look at the computer, she would walk away,” Popovich recalled.

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Popovich children.

“So tell me about home schooling. Are you for it?” Buckley asked Ariella. “Umm, for some parts yes and some parts no,” replied Ariella.

Ariella will be a 7th grader at Tonawanda Middle School.

“I'm not completely against it, but I also do love my school. I love all of my teachers,” Ariella said.

“Would you want mom to teach?” Buckley questioned. “Ah, like not really,” answered Aurora.

Aurora attends Mullen Elementary School.

“Do you miss school?” Buckley asked “Yes,” said Aurora.

“What do you miss about it?” Buckley inquired.

“I miss my friends and I miss my teacher and I miss — like going to lunch with my friends,” Aurora replied.

“My children — they don't want to do home schooling,” Popovich responded.

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Aurora & Ariella Popovich.

But it is six-year-old Aurora that Popovich says she worries most about sending back to school.

“She's the one that I will mostly want to decide about homeschooling. What's school going to look like? Is it going to look like baby jail? Then we're going to talk to school and have social emotional and do virtual, plus home school,” Popovich explained.

Popovich says her eight year old son Cameron could go either way for his learning.

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Popovich's 8-year-old son wrote a letter about going back to school.

He wrote an adorable letter addressed to "the people of Buffalo" saying he thinks they should go back school even if they have to wear masks.