PRINCETON, Illinois - School districts across Illinois have been forced to cut programs and lay off staff. For weeks, some needed to figure out how they'd keep their doors open. Our ongoing look at building better schools has some parents looking at an alternative, homeschooling.
Students are heading back to school, but Terran, Jaydan and Jonathan Polhemus won't leave their home. Their parents Terry and Jaime decided to homeschool their sons last year after Jaime got sick.
"I was having a hard time getting them to school and back and forth and we had so many doctors` appointments it had worked out so well for us," said Jaime.
With the first year of homeschooling done, Jaime says they've seen a huge benefit, "Each of the boys excel in different areas so it allowed us to see what they excel in or what they need more help on and we could individualized and focus on those areas. "
With school districts across the area struggling to stay afloat, the Polhemus's say the financial crisis in Illinois makes them think twice before sending their kids back to public schools.
"You send your kids to school and then they`re cutting all the programs, they`re cutting this, they`re cutting that and it really has nothing to do with the school it has to do with them not getting the funding they`re supposed to from the state," said Terry.
Illinois has seen a 50 percent increase in homeschooling over the last five years. About 80,000 Illinois families now choose to homeschool their kids.
Jaime and Terry say they like the schools and teachers in Princeton, but don't like the districts trying to do more with less.
"It`s not fair to the kids. We`re trying to raise them to be you know the best citizens, model citizens we can and if the money`s not there, the funding falls short of what they can do," said Jaime.
For the Polhemus's it's time to get ready for a second year of schooling at home and they say they know that despite a fiscal mess in state classrooms, their three boys will not lose out.
"Whether it's in the school system or us as parents I mean I feel its our obligation to just make sure that they`re getting the best that they can," said Jaime.