Has your family been forced into homeschooling due to the Coronavirus? You’re not alone! Public schools across the country are closed, and millions of students are now learning at home. What is the LEAST you need to know?
Unless you’ve decided to formally unenroll your teen from their public or private school, you don’t have to worry about doing anything “legally” during this temporary homeschooling situation. Your student is still a student at their school, and as long as you follow the guidelines set up by their school, you’re good to go. Now, if you decide to become a permanent homeschooling family, that does require action because your teen’s status is changing. The process and requirements vary by state, and you can find out exactly what you need to do at Home School Legal Defense Association’s website.
Hours & Days
You’ll be happy to know that “school” doesn’t have to happen during specific hours. While it’s true that school hours may feel the most normal for your family, if both parents are working, learning can happen later in the evening or even on weekends. If you decide to become a permanent homeschooling family at this time, it’s a good idea to keep a notebook of the days you’ve held homeschool. While not required by all states, some states do require you to take attendance.
Trust your student’s teacher. If they’ve sent home suggestions, try and follow those as best as you can. I’ve read notes that specifically requested students not to try and learn any new content during this time, so if your goal is to simply maintain learning, you may ask your students to review the books they already have and rework math problems to keep their mind sharp. If you’ve decided to become a permanent homeschooling family, there are a few really great curriculum options that you can start TODAY. (see below) These will serve as an immediate solution, buying you time to decide what to do for the next school year.
Easy Peasy All-in-One (Christian) – preschool through 12th grade. Online. Free. Don’t be turned off by the name. Many parents report to me that their teens easily pass AP exams and earn amazing SAT scores using nothing but this program.
Khan Academy– math available preschool through 12th grade, other subjects available for high school level including AP. Online. Free.
Saylor Academy – honors-level high school and college-level curriculum for anyone to use. Online. Free. Some of their courses can be worth college credit. Learn more about how to use Saylor Academy for college credit.
Parent as Teacher
Every parent is in the same boat right now! When the parent becomes the teacher, the familiar roles are disrupted, and this may be a stressful situation for you. There are 2 huge rules to remember:
- You don’t have to be perfect!
- You don’t have to know everything!
First of all, you used to be your child’s teacher! But it’s been a while, and you may feel a little rusty. Successful homeschool are not successful because they have perfect parents who are geniuses! They are successful because the parents insist on reasonable consistency and use resources at their disposal. Homeschool parents often call themselves “facilitators” or “guides” because they are connecting their students with resources that allow the student to be a pro-active learner.
If you ask seasoned homeschool parents of high schoolers, most will tell you that they expect their teens to do some amount of independent learning. This is not to suggest parents are abandoning their students, but rather encouraging them to seek out books, videos and websites when they don’t understand a concept. Turning to experts (online) is also a great way to find the answer! Independent learning empowers your teen to take on a level of responsibility for what they know – and what they don’t. Students with strong independent learning skills have unlimited access to quality education!
Public and private school students should be vigilant about making sure their student can complete their graduation requirements as needed. This may involve end-of-grade testing in some states. If you decide to switch to homeschooling, the parent will serve as the school administrator and issue the homeschool diploma. Making sure that you’re following your state’s laws and attendance requirements (if applies) are very important, but you’ll also want to confirm that your student has all of the necessary high school credits to graduate. Check your state’s requirements.
Don’t underestimate your need for support during this time! Connect with other parents
in your situation through social media, phone, zoom, skype, etc. Homeschool parents are always worried about their schedule, academics, social experiences, extracurricular, and college. These concerns are normal! Even if you decide NOT to become a permanent homeschool family, let me invite you to join your state’s Homeschooling for College Credit community. We know exactly what you’re going through and are here to help!