In just a few weeks of distance learning related to COVID, Lauren Pellissier’s 11-year-old son, Jack, really began to struggle. Mom and event planner from Georgia says, “Being on a screen with 20 to 30 kids and connecting with another student or teacher was not difficult.” “There was a lot of confusion, tears and sadness.”

They put it on hold for the rest of the year. But in the spring, as his school district waited on the return of the person learning for the fall, Pelissier took action. She wanted to find an alternative that was “solid and consistent”. But she also knew that she was not ready, or even capable, of home school Jack herself. So she did what any desperate parent does: she went to Google.

Pelissier typed in “Private Homeschool Instruction” and quickly found his way to a small home school maintained by two local parents. And with this, she joins the national trend of families battling virtual school watching home-school for the first time.

Jamie Heston, a home-school consultant in the Bay Area of ​​California and a former board member of the Homeschool Association of California, is hosting “Homeschool 101” a few times a year for an audience of 20 to 30 people. Since last April, she has been “doing them weekly and getting 100 people each time.”

We put together Homeschool 101 to answer the common questions of any home-school-curious family.

What is home schooling?

“Home schooling is a broad umbrella,” says Blair Lee, founder of SEA Homeschoolers, the nation’s largest secular home-school organization. What began as a grassroots movement between Christian and “hippie” families has become a booming industry.

“More families are prepared for home schooling because they feel that the public education system is not good for their child,” says Heston.

“At its heart,” Lee says, “home schooling is education with a focus on one person.”


Why Home Schooling?

“The most profound advantage of home schooling is that there is no longer a learning timeline,” Lee said. This means that if, for whatever reason, traditional school speed does not work for your child, you can build up the pace to suit them. This may mean moving faster through the material and reaching additional fields of study or focusing in challenging areas.

Pellissier says that Jack is actually doing well in an environment that lets him tap into his creativity. “The public school system keeps him in the box,” she says. “Looking back, he was really shocked; There was no room to expand his mind which was being provided to him. “

In his new “school”, Pelissier says, there is scope to grow in relation to his interests.

Who is a good candidate for home schooling?

“Anyone can benefit from this approach,” Blair says. But if home education can be really good for your child:

  • Gifted or have a learning challenge and will benefit from more personalized learning
  • Have sensory issues and finds the school environment overwhelming
  • Is an actor or athlete who needs a more flexible schedule
  • Being bullied at school
  • Learns better at its own pace
  • The school has behavioral issues. These are often related to movement and behavior. They disappear in a home-school setting.

It can also help if someone in your family has a medical condition that does not have germs (no epidemic or no epidemic) at home.

Where do I start?

Home schooling is regulated by the states, so there is no one-off shopping. Setting up can be confusing.

Lee said search your state’s home-schooling organization to find out what it looks like.

“Every state is different,” Heston says. “You have to file a letter of intent. Some states have charter programs that are still under the public school system. “

They also differ in how your children learn. “Some are completely hands-off, and you have a lot of autonomy,” Heston says. Others require you to submit a plan that the superintendent has to review. For example, California states that you need to provide a uniform education in public school and cover core subjects. But, says Heston, you have complete flexibility in how you do this.

Once you know what your state needs, reach out to home-school groups (most of which are on Facebook) to find out what people are doing in your area. “Find two or three groups with details that look like they would be a good fit for your child or family and join them and ask questions,” says Heston. You will likely find like-minded people, who can serve as patrons, sharing resources for courses, local events and more.


How do I know what and how my child should learn?

You can buy all-in-one courses and just “open the box and do it,” Heston says. But she encourages families to experiment before spending any money. “It takes a while to figure out what works for your child and your home and your schedule – and you may be overwhelmed by all the options.”

Richmond, Va., Home-schooler Alicia Wright says, “I usually see home school failing when people try to mimic school at home.” “For most people, it’s not real life, and that’s what you’re trying to get rid of. You don’t need a class. The kitchen table will be fine.”

“Just start covering your major topics and then fix it”, says Heston.

“Embrace freedom and try it out,” Wright says. “If it doesn’t work, you can change it.”

Do home-schooled students not get leftist?

When parents are concerned about “keeping their kids on track”, Heston tells them, “Topics like math, reading and writing are linear, so any program you use keeps you on track.” Going to do.”

For subjects such as science and history, which are not necessarily included in school every day, “there are a million and one websites that will tell you what specific subjects are and what kinds of experiments you can do.”

History was one of the main reasons, a mother of three and a former public school teacher, started school. “At school, they start talking about African Americans with slavery in 1619,” she says. “So, your whole lens starts with these traumatic events.”

Wright, who is Black, wanted to give his children a complete view of history that reflected his culture and community. He is part of a movement among African Americans who are finding freedom in home schooling where they can “research all the stories we wish we had when we were children, all the stories that are missing from the books” . “


Can home-schooled children get admission in college?

“You can go to college as a home-schooler, no problem,” Heston says. “Most colleges now only have special admissions officers for the home-school set, and they covet home-schoolers because they know they are more autonomous.”

“Colleges’ homes have become very school friendly,” said Lee, whose son received scholarship offers from all but one of the colleges he wanted to go to. Wright says that home schooling helped her eldest daughter enter college at the age of 15. “Even though she did not get a traditional education, she was able to move at her own pace, which enabled her to get to such an advanced place.” She says.

What if I don’t want to – or can’t teach my children?

you’re not alone. But there are many smaller programs such as the one Pelissier found. It’s like a mini-school, she says. “There has been real development in that area,” Lee says.

Pellissier researched home schools with an external learning component. She got a hybrid home school, “which is 2 days a week in person, taught by teachers, and works independent 3 days a week, with no screen at home.”

Or you can look into co-op like the established right. When she started home schooling, she says, she did a lot of networking to find other home-schooled families of color. As a result of her efforts, she launched the Cultural Roots Homeschool Co-op. Her goal was to create an extensive network of home-schoolers who could help culturally diverse children learn more about their backgrounds.

Co-op members can share teaching responsibilities or pool resources to appoint a teacher for some or all subjects.

Other options include:

  • Using outside of the “vendors” that offer math, science, nature, and other programs, much like an afterschool program. Your child is present for a part of the day or week.
  • Looking for public school programs that offer 2 days a week in a more specialized school environment, and the second day you go home-school

Bottom line, Heston says, “There are all kinds of different programs out there.”


Will Home Schooling Make My Children Separate?

Home-school people have heard a lot of concerns about the age of children who do not interact with their age.

And while this is true to some extent, they say that home-school children still have plenty of opportunities to connect with other children. It just takes some work.

Heston, who helps organize teen parties, mothers’ nights, Nerf battles, park days, field trips and team day competitions, says, “We have everything we have, we have, Just in small groups. “

With the home-school population soaring during the epidemic, Heston says, “there is another major contingency of collisions between people for connection.”

And one of them will be Jack Pelissier. “This my mother said,” has worked better than I ever thought. “I was exposed to it as a by-product of COVID, but it will probably stay there, because the format is better for her as a person.” feature



Lauren Pelissier, parents, Decatur, GA.

Blair Lee, Founder and Director, SEA Homeschoolers, San Diego, CA.

Jamie Heston, home-schooler; Home-Schooling Consultant, Hayward, CA.

Alicia Wright, home-schooler; Founder, Cultural Roots Homeschool Cooperative.

Coalition for Responsible Home Education: “Homeschool Demography.”

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