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Students prepare to learn from home

It’s back-to-school season for students everywhere, and for some, it’s back to school at home.

For the Branagan kids, school is just a couple of feet away from their house.

“I saw that I could do those things at home, one-on-one, and I thought I could do them better and that we could spend more time together as a family,” said Kerri Branagan, a mother.

Kerri Branagan said her kids have been home-schooled for the last nine years. The family transformed a studio next to their home into a schoolhouse. There, the kids learn everything from math to English to science — all from their mom.

“We love to come out here and be able to separate the home stuff from the school stuff and not have to worry about the laundry or the dishes, because I’m sure I would be worrying about that all of the time,” said Kerri Branagan. “This is a great environment.”

In the state of Idaho, parents research and select the curricula they wish to use. By law, parents and guardians are required to provide “comparable instruction” in subjects usually taught in public schools around the same time public schools are in session.

“We have extracurricular activities,” said Kerri Branagan. “The kids go into town for music lessons, and two of my kids are gymnasts, so we have their physical education covered.”

While home schooling isn’t for everyone, the Branagan family said kids need to try their best, whether in a school or at home.

“Keep focused and do your best, and always think that the learning never stops,” said Dan Branagan, the students’ father. “Learning isn’t just in the classroom.”

State funding is not available to provide assistance for home school. All costs are the responsibility of the parent.

Idaho also does not require parents of home-schooled children to be certified teachers or meet any particular qualifications.

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