MACEDON, N.Y. (WROC) — As back to school season swells the first week of September, some families are opting to remain learning from home, of trend greater fueled by the early COVID pandemic years when schools were forced to shutdown.

Additional support options, such as online tutoring, is growing , as well. One local mom of two boys, who worked as a public school teacher in Rochester for more than a decade, is took the pros and cons from both settings and developed Spark Learning Pals. It’s described as a more modern approach to what’s currently out there for homeschooling support programs.

“We have everything from animal a-z facts and crafts. So you’ll learn about a different animal every week in class and then do a craft on it. We have creative mathmatics. Algebra 1, algebra 2, we have a high school level science class middle school level science class. we have book clubs. we have cursive handwriting. the list goes on,” Katrina Beckman, Founder and Head of Operations, says, adding there are more than 70 live classes students can attend.

Beckman explains during the pandemic, her older son faced more challenges when it came to learning online. At the same time, she had been working as a special needs support educator for homeschooled students in the area and found great success with online learning with one student. Beckman then fused those pros and cons, creating Spark Learning Pals.

New York State has pretty stringent requirements on homeschooling families, including a quarterly attendance report, of which the courses on Spark Learning Pals can be applied. A big factor Beckman says she wanted to incorporate for her business was a more cost-effective options for families, noting it can get expensive when it comes to embarking on a homeschooling journey.

“With homeschool families its tricky; they might not do just one program so you know they want to make sure that whatever they’re going to use is going to fit within their budget. So instead of where you charge per class, Spark Learning Pals is different where you pay just one affordable monthly fee and you gain access to all of our classes,” Beckman says.

There are other components of the program, such a the new adult pen-pal group, to help foster various methods of connecting clients.

The NYS Dept. of Education recently released 2023 data for the number of students on home instruction, broken down by district. That can be found here: