Coronavirus: Homeschool Solutions
Homeschooling When You Hadn’t Planned on It
As concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to rise along with a mounting number of confirmed cases in the U.S., many parents are seeking to be proactive in protecting their children. For a large number of parents, homeschooling checks every box. With the CDC alerting schools to have a plan of action in case of an outbreak it isn’t any wonder that parents are actively looking for alternatives. In fact, many school districts across the country have begun discussing contingency plans. School closures have now become a reality. Yet sadly, most teachers are not prepared for a distance learning/completely technology-based version of education. That, along with the fact that not every child in the U.S. has access to technology, makes this situation even more challenging.
However, in many cases, parents are considering a temporary version of homeschooling to protect their children. Temporary homeschooling — or emergency homeschooling as some people call it — may be a good solution for the concerns that you may have. However, even though this virus is potentially a very real threat to all Americans, it’s important to handle educational decisions and discussions with children as delicately as possible. It’s best to approach the issue with a clear head and thoroughly explore all educational options that might work best for your child. If you are new to this, and considering homeschooling for the first time, let us walk you through some of the crucial points to get started with homeschooling as the answer.
Can I Homeschool My Child Temporarily?
You may be wondering if homeschooling is the answer to your fears. It could be — especially if you recognize that for the moment, schools have lots of angst about public health issues which you can side step by deciding to homeschool for the balance of the year. You can explore this “homeschooling” thing while the world sorts out how to get on top of this new virus and our fears about it.
Homeschooling may be just what is needed in this season of life if only to put your fears at ease. Getting started homeschooling isn’t difficult but there are a few things to consider before you take that step. Let’s dig into some key homeschooling questions.
What Does Homeschooling Require of the Parent?
There are many ways to homeschool, in fact, homeschooling looks different for every family. However, most often the parent takes time to determine how they would like their child to learn and what methods of homeschooling that might entail. Does your child enjoy reading and completing worksheets? Then using a homeschooling curriculum that takes that approach may be best for your family. If your child enjoys technology then using an online homeschooling curriculum might be a great fit. In all cases the homeschooling parent will need to consider the following:
- What do the state regulations require?
- What type of learning will we do? (online, text, etc)
- When do we want to start?
- What type of schedule will we keep?
- How will I keep grades and homeschooling records? Or will I choose a homeschool curriculum that keeps them for me?
What Does Homeschooling Look Like?
As mentioned before, homeschooling looks different for every family. Some homeschooling families have a “school-at-home” approach where their homeschool looks very similar to traditional education, while others may have a more natural approach to homeschooling and use exploration and discovery to ignite their curiosity for learning. However, if you are planning to homeschool temporarily then you might want to consider the most straightforward and easiest to implement homeschooling methods. For example, there are many online homeschooling curricula out there that enable you to subscribe monthly and get started within a few days. For emergency homeschooling, this is a great solution because it will allow you to pick up where your students left off and then discontinue whenever you feel it is safe to return to the classroom.
How to Start Short-Term Homeschooling
Pulling your child out of school mid-year is not a new concept. In fact, every year there are a substantial number of homeschoolers that start homeschooling in the middle of the school term. It’s not uncommon and you don’t have to worry about breaking any laws. Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states. In fact, you could conceivably start homeschooling today. Just check with your state laws. Homeschooling is an easy process and one that over two million have gone ahead and prepared the way for you! However, as it is with any important endeavor you’ll need to take some time to make sure you get started on the right foot. We’ve been here helping the homeschooling community for over 20 years now, and we’ll be here to help you as you take each step. To get the ball rolling, there are a few tried and true steps to getting started with homeschooling. You’ll want to follow these whether you plan on homeschooling for the long haul or just temporarily homeschooling.
- Research your state homeschooling laws and fulfill their requirements
- Understand your student’s learning styles and what motivates them. Take this Homeschool Styles Quiz and this Learning Styles Quiz to get you started!
- Research curriculum that supports your homeschool goals and your student’s learning styles. If your goal is temporary homeschooling then use a homeschool curriculum that is easy to start. Time4Learning offers a free Welcome to Homeschool guide for those just getting started.
- Organize your homeschooling location, your curriculum, your plan for daily homeschooling, and your daily schedule. Click here for examples of daily schedules for a variety of homeschooling types.
- Take a deep breath, and get started!
- Contact us if you need any help!
Remember that supplementary learning resources can also play a vital role in homeschooling. Be sure to check out Khan Academy, Outlook, Prenda, and even unschool.school.
General Tips for Keeping Your Family Healthy
I came across this little article the other day and it’s funny but really hits the mark about teaching our children preventative measures to avoid getting sick. The CDC recommends these steps to be taken to avoid contracting the Coronavirus:
- Avoid close contact with those that are sick
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using regular household detergent and water.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent and water prior to disinfection. For disinfection, a list of products with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved emerging viral pathogens claims, maintained by the American Chemistry Council Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC), is available at Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fighting Products
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
Keep Your Eye on Coronavirus Related School Closings
EdWeek has a great Coronavirus school closing map that shows exactly where schools are closing due to the virus outbreak. It’s very interesting and helpful to give awareness.
If you’d like more homeschooling help or would like to speak to me about getting started with homeschooling please contact me at [email protected]
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been an integral part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional schooling and homeschooling became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, remote project manager, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 11-17) in southern Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience and help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected]