Local family repurposes school bus to make at-home learning center

SPOKANE, Wash. — When school started this week, many local students logged into classes from home instead of hopping on a bus. Then, there’s the Marek family. Their students aren’t just on a bus- they’re learning in one. 

Virtual learning is hard when you have four kids, and even harder when none of them attend the same school. 

Students in the Marek Family are split between Mead and West Valley school districts. It hasn’t been easy for the family, who says there’s just too much going on. 

So, Mandy and her husband, Joe, decided to get creative. They repurposed an old school bus, which now serves as a learning center. 

The hope is that the center will give the Marek kids more space to learn… and help them stay focused. 

“It’s new and exciting right now, so that’s been okay,” said Mandy Marek. “There’ve been some complaints of rolling chairs being annoying.”

Even with the new center, the family still has some virtual struggles to overcome. Their home is in an area that doesn’t have strong internet connection; a necessity for full-time distance learning.

With four kids, high-speed internet is hard to come by. Instead, they’ve been using personal hotspots and a booster antenna.

“If it is all four learning online, then we’re going, kind of what we did in the spring is take shifts, because really only two can be on at a time,” said Marek.

She says they’re trying to work with the school districts to solve that issue. In the meantime, they’ll do what they can with the bus to get some silence and space between siblings.

“It’s nice because I can still keep school separate from at home,” said student Serenity Marek. “Which is good, I definitely don’t like mixing those two worlds.”

While the first week of school is over with, the family still worries how they’re going to get through the rest of the year.

“I feel like right now is just the easy gentle start, but in a month I’ll probably be frazzled and pulling out my hair,” said Mandy. “I’m really, truly rolling with the punches.”