Best Online Homeschool Curriculum
COVID-19 and Homeschooling: Best Practices for Families
Homeschooling has seen a big increase since the introduction of COVID-19 as more and more families are concerned about sending their children back to a brick-and-mortar environment where, despite the school’s best abilities, they cannot guarantee that exposure won’t occur and lead to an outbreak. For parents, this has created a challenging situation as they still have jobs to do and not everyone is able to take on the role of teacher to elementary, middle or high school students. Kids are also having to adjust to the fact that socializing with their friends looks different and will change with transitioning with a learning at home approach. There are some things you can do to help make the right decision and enroll them in a program designed to enhance their education and provide a stable path to graduation and their future.
It’s important to look at several things when choosing to homeschool so that everyone in the family is comfortable with the change and the process is beneficial for the child’s learning and social development. The first step is to find the best online homeschool curriculum as there are many to choose from when you start searching on the internet. Look for those with multiple accreditations as this indicates their curriculum, teaching and process standards have been reviewed by several agencies and found to meet the highest requirements. This accreditation has to be renewed periodically so schools cannot earn it and then let their standards fall lower or they risk losing the designation. It is especially important if you have high school students since colleges look for this when reviewing transcripts to determine if they will accept the courses and diploma. Talk with the admissions counselor to ask relevant questions, ask about full-time teacher instruction and take a demo of the online classroom so students can see how it works. Younger grades will utilize a print curriculum which requires more parent involvement but starting about 3rd or 4th grade, most programs offer an online option which helps parents balance their job and kids’ school.
Keeping kids at home for their education decreases their risk of exposure to COVID-19 but it’s important to continue socialization and getting kids out of the house. Creating a daily schedule is one of the hardest pieces for new homeschool families as they try to work through the hours, pattern and introduction of activities outside of online classes. Be patient with yourself and your kids and read lots of blogs by experienced homeschool families to see what has and hasn’t worked for them. Every family dynamic is different so you will need to determine what works for your kids based on whether you work from home or have to go to the workplace, the age and number of kids learning at home, sports they may be involved in and learning abilities. COVID-19 has opened businesses up to hybrid work schedules and flexibility to the ever-changing situations in communities so take advantage of this and see how you can be there for your kids with field trips, learning outdoors and participating in community activities (as allowed) while keeping up with your job.
Thirdly, determine if teaching with the best online homeschool curriculum is a short or long-term solution for your child’s education. In the face of COVID-19 uncertainties, development of a vaccine and various state and county guidelines, some families may choose to keep their kids at home for the time being but eventually want them to transition back to a traditional school environment. To prevent loss of time, energy and education, enrolling them in a quality accredited homeschool program ensures they can continue their courses and then meld back into the school system with little to no issues. Choose a platform that offers part and full-time options and discuss the possibility of going back to public school with Admissions so they can make recommendations on timing and transference of credits to the new institution. Planning ahead reduces issues down the road and guarantees your student will have a stable education even if you decide to make this a long-term solution because the benefits outweigh putting the student back where they were before.
In addition to the above practices, parents should keep in mind that kids don’t have to wear masks at home or be as concerned about washing their hands throughout the day because of contact with surfaces touched by other people. While these precautions are important and necessary in public, they can have long-term effects when children are required to do them on a constant basis such as dry and chapped skin, reduced breathing capacity and those with medical conditions are already at a disadvantage. Homeschooling provides a safe and secure option for families with children of all ages and gives peace of mind that they are able to help their children succeed in their education without exposing them to additional risk.