Susana had been experiencing bullying from her classmates since she began 6th grade in 2019 at a public school in Nebraska.

“They would bully her for her Cuban accent and pressure her to do things she didn’t want to do,” Susana’s mother Adianez said.

The bullying worsened, and near the end of the year, Susana was physically attacked by one of her classmates. According to her mom, Susana’s face was left disfigured after the attack, almost unrecognizable.

“Our whole experience with the public school was horrible,” Adianez said. “I trusted them with my child, and she came home injured and traumatized.”

Feeling extreme distress, Susana didn’t want to be near her aggressor ever again. So, in 7th grade, she was placed in a different classroom than that of the bully. But when COVID-19 hit and online classes started, Susana was assigned to the same virtual classroom as her bully. She refused to turn her camera on.

And when in-person classes resumed at her school in 2022, the bully sent her threatening texts, saying she’d be waiting for her at school. Susana was terrified of going back.

“We couldn’t mention the word ‘school’ because she would start panicking,” her mom said.

“I Was Fascinated”

Adianez began considering other educational options for their family. She knew it would be ideal for both of their children, as well as for herself and her health struggles.

She’s been suffering from diabetes and uterine fibroids for a couple of years now. Additionally, she had a heart attack a few years ago, and when she caught COVID-19 in 2023, she had a pre-stroke.

Both Susana and her 11-year-old brother Enrique have also been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Susana has also been diagnosed with episodic mood disorder and anxiety; and Enrique with impulse control disorder. Adianez had been struggling to obtain the necessary support from Susana and Enrique’s schools to help them with the various demands of their diagnoses.

Enrique, Susana, Adianez, and Enrique

Adianez and Enrique with their two children, Susana and Enrique.

As she began to look at alternate educational options, she knew that homeschooling presented a viable alternative: no more bullying, reduced exposure to germs that could trigger her health issues, and a positive environment to help Susana and Enrique with their special needs.

But when Adianez brought the idea of homeschooling to the director of special education of her school district, she was told that homeschooling didn’t exist in Nebraska.

With all these factors in mind—bullying, special needs challenges, and health struggles—Adianez started googling alternative options for her children’s education.

She found a Spanish site about homeschooling called Vida Homeschool, and she started learning all about homeschooling.

“I was fascinated,” she said. 

She then stumbled on one of their videos featuring HSLDA’s Hispanic outreach coordinator, Karim Morato, and learned more about HSLDA. She became a member in June 2022.

Shortly after, she contacted our team for legal support. HSLDA attorney Kevin Boden’s team assured her she could homeschool in Nebraska and explained to her the process for withdrawal and compliance with Nebraska homeschool law. Then, in August 2022, she completed the required documentation and submitted it to the Nebraska Department of Education.

After receiving pushback, she told the district: “I am not asking for permission. I’m only notifying you. If there’s a problem, talk to my lawyers.”

After that, she started homeschooling Susana and Enrique.

“Heaven Opened Up For Us”

A year and a half of homeschooling has now gone by, and Adianez and her husband Enrique feel blessed to have found this educational alternative. Adianez’ only wish is that she had discovered homeschooling sooner to prevent Susana from being physically attacked, and to satisfy the special needs of her children earlier on.

As for Susana and Enrique, they feel more at ease because they have been able to learn at their own pace.

Susana is now in 11th grade and doesn’t get as easily frustrated throughout her learning process. She loves painting and clay modeling. Enrique, on the other hand, is in 6th grade, and likes to learn at home with his mom.

Susana doing homework

Susana working on her homework.

Adianez loves teaching their kids about the history of World War II, mainly because their grandfather, Domingo Coll, served during that conflict. Adianez and her husband are very proud of this, and they cherish all the documents and memories of him.    

Their family is also thankful for the flexibility homeschooling has brought them amidst the health struggles of Adianez. Since the start of their homeschooling journey, Adianez has felt much calmer, knowing the chances of exposure to germs causing another pre-stroke are more limited.

“Homeschooling was as if heaven opened up for us,” Adianez said. “Whenever I meet someone new, I tell them about the wonders of homeschooling.”

“HSLDA is Like My Family”

Adianez is particularly thankful for HSLDA’s support. In the past two years, their family has been the recipient of HSLDA Compassion Curriculum Grants, which made it possible for her and her husband to purchase electronic equipment, school supplies, books, and a printer to homeschool their children.

“It’s important for us that our children feel they can learn at home,” Adianez said.

Adianez also feels blessed for having received support in Spanish from HSLDA’s bilingual grant administrator, Amy Majors, and HSLDA’s bilingual membership representative, Marilú Herrera. She also expressed her gratitude towards our special needs consultants, Dr. Rochelle Mathews-Sommerville and Marialena Zachariah, for helping her choose a special needs curriculum and creating a Student Education Plan to meet the needs of Susana and Enrique.

“HSLDA is like my family,” she said. “It brought me the peace of mind I needed when it came to my children’s education.”