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38 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 11.16 KIDS GO TO SCHOOL IN JEFFERSON COUNTY. is morning, 125,000 kids in Jefferson County begrudgingly got up before sunrise. ey packed their lunches in Frozen lunch- boxes or brown sacks, or brought lunch money, or forgot all of those things as they rushed out the door to the bus stop or the minivan. Or maybe they rolled out of bed, threw a backpack on, making sure to bring their homework, and walked a few blocks to school. Many made it to school after an hour-long ride and a few unfortunate ones may have gotten on the wrong bus at the depot. e late ones were reprimanded. e ones with too many unexplained tardy marks to their names got detention. Some fell asleep in French class. Some made new best friends. Some found a new favorite teacher. Some stayed after school for cross-country or Beta Club or a pep rally. Some kids did none of these things. Some — at least 2,106 — are home-schooled. Eight years ago, Ian Guerrero was in second grade at Jeffersontown Elementary School. Up to that point, his mom Toya recalls, he had been doing well and hadn't received any complaints from his teachers. But in second grade Ian started to bring home incomplete school- work. Toya would sit down with him and help him complete the worksheets that he hadn't done in class. "at kind of baffled me," she says. When she ques- tioned the teacher, she says, the response was that everything was fine and not to worry. But then October came around: same thing. November: same thing. "And I said, 'Listen, I'm really concerned that Ian's not going to pass. He's not learning anything,'" Toya says. e teacher said that he seemed distracted. She didn't have any advice for Toya at that point, so Toya went to her church leaders. ey suggest- ed he should run in the morning to work out some energy, so her husband Rudy would get up and Ian would run with him before school. December: same thing. "I mean stacks of worksheets," Toya says. "By December I had brought it to her attention so much that she's starting to think I'm accusing her, and I'm not — I just want to know what we can do to help Ian." e teacher suggested supplement- ing with a tutor and said that he would have to see a doctor, that he might have ADD or ADHD. Toya talked to some moms who told her not to let anyone put her son on drugs, that nothing was wrong with Ian. "I had a degree in psychology. I really did not think Ian had any type of learning disability. So finally I said to (his teacher), 'What would you do if this was your child?' She said, 'Well, I would home-school.'" Some of Toya's church members who home-schooled helped her get a curriculum together and she told the district she wasn't coming back. Ian, now 15 and a high school fresh- man, and his 11-year-old sister Apolonia (she goes by Apple) are two home-school- ers in Jefferson County. Home-schoolers make up at least 2 percent of the county's student population. e district and the state have not kept year-to-year records of the number of known home-school- ers. A Courier-Journal story from 1982 By Mary Chellis Austin Photos by Mickie Winters