HOUSTON – As the summer days tick away, for so many parents there is a growing uneasiness about the next school year.
“I think with all the uncertainty I want to be prepared,” said mom Libby Hunking.
The state’s largest school district, HISD, recently provided parents with a disconcerting update saying, “The situation remains fluid”…” classes could resume in person” and “could continue to take place entirely online” or maybe both. Tuesday afternoon, the Texas Education Agency announced parents will have a choice on whether to send their children back to school in the fall or keep them home and continue remote learning. For some parents, the decision is already clear.
“No, we are not going back, we’ve already made the decision,” said Jennifer Benedict.
The answer for the Benedicts is homeschooling. It removes the uncertainty, but for moms and dads, adds a daunting new challenge.
“What are the basics you need to know before you get into something like this, you need to know what your state requires of you,” explained homeschool mom Jamie Gaddy.
In Texas that bar is low. Just unenroll from a traditional school, then do real teaching, use visual aids and cover reading, spelling, grammar, math, and good citizenship. There is no need to register with any agency.
But how do you even get started?
“You just start narrowing it down and cobbling it together,” said Benedict. “It seems like such a big undertaking to build a curriculum for a child.”
“That’s the thing parents need to understand. They don’t have to do that,” said Gaddy.
Gaddy has homeschooled all six of her kids. She also started homeschool.com and on it, you can find reviews by parents of popular curriculums. Before you choose one, mind steps two and three from Gaddy.
“Number two, what kind of homeschooler are you. Number three, how does your child learn and what are their learning preferences,” said Gaddy.
Know you, your schedule, your style, your goals, and then know the same about your kids who are the students. How do they learn best? For Benedict, hands-on exploration is the only way to fly.
“It made sense for us so we’re like ok we’re gonna give it a shot,” said Benedict.
The best advice is to find a group near you where you can connect with other homeschool families. We’ve found several and listed them below. (But you should also check social media pages for specific neighborhood groups.)
Let us know if you have other homeschool resources that might help parents!