Homeschooling has become an increasingly popular method of educating children in the United States, and with the restrictions on traditional schooling brought by COVID-19, even more families jumped on board this trend. Seniors who have grandkids or other young family members who are being homeschooled or who are attending hybrid schooling during the pandemic may wonder what this is all about.
Whether you're a resident at Bethesda Gardens in Frisco, TX, with grandkids or other young relatives who are being homeschooled or you have friends who are wondering about the education of their young loved ones, maybe it's time to educate yourself. We've put together a quick primer to help you understand what this is all about and dispel some myths you might be worried about.
Homeschool refers to a type of education that occurs in the home. Parents, other relatives, friends or even paid professionals teach children outside of a traditional school environment.
Homeschool rules are different in every state, with some regulating these options more than others. Depending on the state, parents may need to let school systems know they chose to homeschool and provide test results or evaluations to show that the children are learning at the proper level. In other states, parents may need to use an accredited curriculum or follow other rules.
Homeschooling differs from hybrid or remote schooling, both of which became common in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hybrid schooling typically involves students learning at home and in school. Students may only attend school two to three times a week. This lets schools alternate which students are present on any given day, allowing for social distancing and other COVID-19 safety measures.
Remote schooling occurs when students are taught by teachers but they learn from home via video conferencing and other tools. This was the method of schooling many districts in the country adopted in the early weeks and months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some districts and parents choose to maintain remote schooling throughout 2020 and into 2021.
The difference between these methods and actual homeschooling is that the children are still learning from public or private school teachers. They must follow the schedule and requirements of those teachers, and they may also need to login to do work and lessons at certain times.
Parents choose homeschooling for many reasons. They may want the flexibility and freedom it offers. As long as you're meeting the requirements of the state and your child is learning appropriately for his or her age, you don't have to do school at certain times or even every day. You can also adopt the type of learning that works best for your children and family.
But homeschool certainly isn't for everyone, and it does take some research and commitment to make it work. Being successful with homeschool also means breaking through some common myths, such as those below. Check these out if you're worried that your children or other adult relatives have decided to homeschool their kids and what that might mean.
Myth: Homeschool kids aren't socialized.
Many people believe that because the kids aren't sent to school, they won't learn the social skills necessary for later in life. Today's homeschool kids often get plenty of opportunities for socialization, though. Co-operative learning groups, play dates, exploration groups and even free time with siblings and adult family members are all great opportunities for socialization.
If you're worried about this for your grandchildren or other young relatives, consider offering to help. Ask if you can have a social video chat or phone call once a week with them. Just have fun and talk to them, helping them learn to converse with others in these formats.
Myth: Homeschool kids won't keep up.
Obviously it depends on the parents or other adults teaching the children. But homeschool kids are often ahead of the game in at least a few subjects. This is because they're not limited to the status quo. If they're struggling with reading but great at math, they can move on with math while continuing to practice reading.
Plus, many homeschool curriculums are designed to teach a grade ahead. This is simply because when you're not having to wrangle an entire class of students and build in time for instruction compliance, lining up and ensuring everyone has caught up, learning actually moves very fast.
Myth: Homeschool kids miss out on sports and clubs.
There are so many recreational opportunities today, kids can usually participate in plenty of activities if the family chooses. Some school districts also allow kids to play sports on school teams even if they're homeschooled.
If you're wondering about your grandkids' homeschool routine or anything else, ask their parents and be willing to listen. You might even ask how you can get involved and help. Perhaps you could teach a lesson over video chat on your favorite subjects periodically or engage children in learning about things outside of the standard curriculum that you love. That's one of the points of homeschool, after all!