As public schools get ready to welcome back students, some kids get to skip the bus lines and stay home.

Both Millcreek and General McLane school districts average around 80 to 90 students enrolled in home education programs through the school.

In the General McLane district, families submit course objectives for the year. At the end of school, each student is evaluated by a third party homeschool evaluator.

Homeschooling offers some families and students the flexibility and freedom to learn at their pace and style.

Dawnne Foland was a public school teacher and home school evaluator for years, when she started homeschooling her son during COVID.

"He has his routine all planned out. He gets up in the morning, turns on his computer, gets his breakfast, east his breakfast while he's doing his homeschooling, he gets everything done then he has the rest of the day to do whatever he wants. and he loves that," said Foland.

"He hates to waste time. After the first couple of years of homeschooling we were talking about going back to school for high school," said Foland, "He said to me 'why would I want to sit in a brick and mortar school for 8 hours a day when I can do all of my schoolwork in 3 [hours]."

COVID did bring an influx of families into local home school communities. Foland shared that Erie County Homeschooling Opportunities (ECHO) had around 20 families in 2019 and now has near 40. ECHO meets every Monday to offer weekly classes for students to take. Another group, Homeschooling Connections of Erie, PA, offers classes and group fieldtrips among other resources.