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Parents Find Alternative Schooling Options After Horizon Charter School Closes

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LINCOLN (CBS13) – When Horizon Charter School shut down its accelerated learning academy, hundreds of students were left with nowhere to go.

Some families turned to public and private schools. Others switched to charters, and are now using a home-school program.

It’s a lesson of creativity and problem solving when parents’ children were kicked out of their charter school and into homeschool. Many couldn’t possibly leave work to teach from home, so instead they came up with study room.

It may look like a classroom, but don’t call it that. It’s a study room run by parents, where fourth grade homeschoolers meet for study group.

“It’s better because I get to spend time with my friends that I’ve met, and I get to spend time with my teacher,” one student said.

“We were first studying at our normal school, then we had to go to our friend Ethan’s house,” fourth grader Christian Roberts said.

Two Horizon Charter schools abruptly shut down last semester, pulling the rug from under hundreds of families. Parents painstakingly created their own ground to walk on: a study site at a church in Lincoln for eight teachers and their 90 students.

“We have a lot more materials to work with and a lot more space,” said Roberts.

Parents put up walls in the church’s sanctuary, and brought in books, creating the building blocks for their children’s education.

“Me, my sister and my dad helped build these three bookcases,” said Roberts.

Parents are paying the rent, donating supplies and volunteering countless hours. Former Horizon teachers’ paychecks were cut in half.

“We all share this common bond of being so dedicated to the kids,” mother Laura Daggett said.

None of the former Horizon families chose to be homeschooled, but they sure got a lesson in thinking outside the class.

“They see their teacher regularly, which is fantastic, and they’re with a group of children who share the same values — same desire to learn,” parent Michael Hilmen said.

Parents are proud to have a place for kids not just to learn their alphabet, but to learn the power of perseverance.

“I think it’s taught me that you just don’t give up,” said Roberts.

Another branch out of the Horizon fallout got many teachers together to form their own private school. Hawthorne Academy is set to open in the fall.

The homeschool site is for kindergarten through sixth grade, which leaves high school students from Horizon with nowhere to go. Parents say many of them are struggling by not having classrooms.

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