ESAs in Arizona help kids learn all year round

By Kim Martinez, AFC National Correspondent

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IMG_7367Madison, 5, learned how to read over the summer last year. However, a few months later, she could no longer recognize letters or numbers. “In November, Madison had a seizure which caused her to lose the ability to read,” says Phoenix mother, Sarah.

Madison has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, creating a very unique combination of academic special needs. She periodically regresses and forgets certain skills like reading. Sarah made the decision to homeschool Madison using Arizona’s education savings account program (ESA) as a way to customize and adjust her curriculum as needed.

“Public schools are not equipped to deal with that type of an issue,” adds Sarah. “I think it would be unfair to everybody to throw her in a class with 30 kids and expect a teacher to give her the one-on-one attention she requires.”

It is crucial to her education that Madison learns year round and does not have a gap in her education during the summer months. ESA funds help Sarah provide that consistent, year round learning environment for her child.

“I bought a separate curriculum to use just over summer,” says Sarah. “Maintaining the routine is especially important for kids with special needs and I don’t want her to lose any of her academic skills that we fought so hard for.”

Sarah is very grateful for the freedom and customization opportunities the ESA program gives her family.

“I can assess each day where she’s at and I can choose the appropriate curriculum,” says Sarah. ”When she regresses, I have the funds to purchase curriculum at her current level to build her back up again.”

After 7 months of “building her back up,” Madison is almost at the reading level she was at last summer before the seizure.

“We purchased the BOB beginning reader books series with ESA funds and have used them to teach her to read twice so far,” says Sarah. Madison loves her BOB books and is also spending her summer reading books about animals and nature.

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