Upstate parents set up mini-classrooms in their homes, fewer teachers buying school items


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Parents in the Upstate are beginning to prepare for the upcoming school year and those with children enrolled in virtual programs are going the extra mile to ensure their child receives a quality education from home.

Shayla Irby, a Greenville mother of three girls, said her daughters enjoy learning at school but she wanted to keep them safe, so they’ll be staying home this school year. Irby decided to give her daughters a similar learning environment they would get at school, so she put together a mini classroom in her home.

“Because of the pandemic, I’m just not comfortable sending them back yet. I wanted to set up a classroom here at the house,” Irby said.

She said her girls are still very young and her three year-old will be starting school for the first time this year, so she included fun and colorful shapes and numbers on the wall along with animal pictures and the alphabet.

“I am very involved with my girls and very involved with their education. I just needed them to feel comfortable and feel like they were in school because I wasn’t sending them back. I was like ‘okay, I’ll bring the school to them’,”Irby said.

Laura Alabau, owner at a local classroom supply store called School Spot, said she has noticed so far that the amount of parents coming into the store needing supplies has increased.

“We’ve expended the teacher discount to parents that are deciding to home school instead of sending their kids back to school. We’ve had a big increase in parents,” Alabau said.

On the other hand, Alabau told us the store has seen a decrease in the amount of teachers shopping for supplies this year.

“Usually at this time of year we’d have a pretty full store full of teachers preparing to go back to the classroom. Right now, we don’t,” Alabau said.

The most popular items for teachers this back-to-school season are signs urging children to stay “germ free” by practicing social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing.

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