home schooling

Parents Turn to ‘Microschooling’ and Private Tutors as School Openings Seem Uncertain

As the coronavirus crisis continues, many parents seeking a consistent plan for their child’s education this fall are choosing “microschooling” and private tutors to help with instruction. “I don’t want to send my kids given the level of uncertainty that still exists to this day,” Ashley Thompson, a Florida parent, told ABC News. While Thompson’s children will participate in some online learning, she is also exploring “microschooling,” a home education option in which the children of several families learn together, sometimes with the aid of a private tutor or retired teacher. Families can share the cost of the tutor’s services. “I’m thinking maybe we’re looking at options of having a couple of the other families kind of get together where the tutor can assist them as well,” Thompson said. The Microschool Coalition (MSC) has begun helping parents to “transform education” by assisting with learning design and resources. Parents visiting the MSC website can get help with how to open their own microschool. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, Ed.D., MSC founder, said microschools “are in demand with waiting lists because smaller and more communal makes kids get served better.” “In this time of pandemic, it’s an added bonus,” she told Good Morning America. “They can be much safer than larger schools. Their social distancing, the six-feet apart, is much more doable.” Parents are taking charge of their children’s education as teachers’ unions continue to block schools from reopening and an increasing number of school districts have decided to abandon in-person instruction and provide only remote classes. “As this back-to-school bandying continues, more parents are saying ‘enough is enough’ and are opting out of conventional schooling this fall in favor of homeschooling,” wrote Kerry McDonald, senior education fellow at Foundation for Economic Education and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom. McDonald explains what families can gain from home education: In addition to children being happier and less stressed, and families having more freedom and flexibility over what, how, when, and with whom their children learn, homeschooling can also lead to better overall learning. Curriculum and educational tools can be tailored to a child’s distinct needs and interests, and many free, online learning resources can enhance academic outcomes. According to ABC News, certified music teacher Jessica Schoenfeld said she receives multiple calls per day from parents asking for assistance in setting up their private learning centers. Schoenfeld transformed her music school into a learning center in which students can social distance with 14 children across three rooms. “Anything that parents can do to get assistance, even if it’s after the school day ends, they’re looking for help,” said Schoenfeld. “Parent’s jobs [are] not necessarily to teach their kids subjects that they haven’t done in 10 or 20 years. Their goal is to get help kids so they’re staying on track as much as possible.”

A sign of the times…

Hillsdale College K-12 Expert to Parents Teaching Children at Home: ‘You Can Do This’

Parents are fully capable of teaching their children at home, said Dr. Kathleen O’Toole, associate provost for Hillsdale College’s K-12 charter school initiative, in an interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow. Hillsdale College and its Barney Charter School initiative have launched a series of more than 40 free YouTube videos for parents and their children engaged in at-home learning during the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. O’Toole said her group’s usual work has been advising a network of charter schools and some private schools, but that, since the coronavirus shutdowns have closed schools, they have switched gears to helping parents provide American classical education at home. “We’re making the curriculum that we use in our charter schools available to the general public,” O’Toole said. “It’s a liberal arts curriculum. If you sent your child to a Hillsdale-affiliated school – there are 21 of them across the country and more happening all the time … they will receive a well-rounded liberal arts education,” based on the same education as Hillsdale College students. Asked by Marlow how education has changed in the U.S., O’Toole responded that a liberal arts curriculum places value on every subject. She said such a curriculum is different from what is found in most public schools today. “Public schools today, in many, many cases, focus on career training,” she said, adding that some fifth-grade students say it is stressful to be expected to know which type of work they want to do when they are older. O’Toole said in the Hillsdale-affiliated charter schools, they let children know they will be learning about “every single subject” and teach them how to study effectively. This classical education format will prepare them for the future when it is time to decide their career, and for their lifelong learning, she said. O’Toole acknowledged the current coronavirus shutdowns have presented parents with a challenge. “Our message to parents at Hillsdale College is, ‘You can do this. You have been teaching your child since the first day that child was born. And, maybe you haven’t been teaching them math, maybe you haven’t been teaching them cursive, but you have been teaching. We’re here to help you with the content … with what to teach and how to teach it in the most effective way.” O’Toole continued that parents know their children best, yet many parents of children who attend public schools believe teachers and schools are “privy to some kind of special secret knowledge of how to teach kids,” and that parents “can’t hope to do the expert work teachers are used to doing.” In addition to challenging that idea, O’Toole said “parents have got to know what are you teaching my child about right and wrong.” “A school should be able to answer that question and a school should not think of itself as providing lessons in that without the consent and the help of the parent,” she asserted. In addition to addressing the concept of at-home learning and parenting for academic success, the Hillsdale video series covers the topics of phonograms, Latin, Singapore Math, science, classical literature, composition, history, grammar, physical education, and more. O’Toole invited parents to visit k12athome.hillsdale.edu for more information and access to the curriculum. Click here for more:

Harvard prof calls homeschooling ‘dangerous,’ says it gives parents ‘authoritarian control’ over kids

A Harvard law professor is under fire for her comments in an article about the “risks” of homeschooling as parents face closed public schools because of the coronavirus pandemic. In Harvard Magazine’s May-June issue, Elizabeth Bartholet, a law professor and faculty director of the school’s Child Advocacy Program, worried homeschooled children will not be able to contribute to a democratic society. “The issue is, do we think that parents should have 24/7, essentially authoritarian control over their children from ages zero to 18?” Bartholet asked. “I think that’s dangerous. I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.” Without citing specific examples, the civil rights and family law teacher argued homeschooled children are at higher risks of abuse. “I think an overwhelming majority of legislators and American people, if they looked at the situation, would conclude that something ought to be done,” Bartholet said. Michael Donnelly, director of global outreach and senior counsel for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), of which is targeted in the article, told Fox News the views expressed are “extreme.” “Bartholet’s dystopian recommendations are tone-deaf and have provoked a firestorm of response from political and religious perspectives – as well they should have,” Donnelly said. “Her obvious distrust of average Americans is loud and clear.” He added, “Bartholet’s call for a presumptive ban on homeschooling because she considers American homeschooling parents too ignorant or too religious goes against the weight of decades of scholarly research on homeschooling which demonstrates positive academic, civic and social outcomes.” A Harvard University honors graduate student, who was homeschooled until she went to the Ivy League school, responded in a post on Medium Monday. Melba Pearson called the article “an attack on the fundamental rights and freedoms that make our country (and until recently, institutions such as Harvard) what they are.” She said it is “disappointing” Erin O’Donnell, who authored the article quoting Bartholet, argued that government has more of a right than parents do to educate their own children. “The idea that a government, already so inefficient and inadequate in so many areas, can care for and educate every child better than its parent is wrong,” Pearson wrote. The alum points out that statistics back up homeschooling, calling out the article’s “faulty” logic. Pearson argues she was better prepared for Harvard because she was homeschooled, not in spite of it. “It is deeply disappointing that Harvard is choosing and promoting an intellectual totalitarian path that calls for a ban of the liberties that helped me and countless others succeed, for it is those liberties and ideals that have made America the great nation it is today,” she concludes.

Agreed 100%!!   To read Melba Pearson’s post in its entirety, click on the text above.  Elizabth Bartholet is your cookie-cutter, agenda-driven, liberal elitist, anti-home schooling, fascist that probably is in the pocket of the teachers unions.  If you deconstruct what she says, you could use her own words back on her to defend home schooling, and attack traditional education.  She says, “I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.”  How are teachers in a public school any different than parents in this regard?  They’re not.  What a moron…

Helpful Tips and Websites for Parents Schooling at Home

Parents throughout America may be struggling to find ways to encourage their children’s learning while working from home themselves during the coronavirus crisis. Many school districts are ill-equipped to conduct full online learning, but, despite the situation, parents can meet the challenge of providing educational experiences for their children of any age and may find it to be a very rewarding opportunity at that. First and foremost, parents can de-stress immediately with the knowledge they do not need to replicate school at home. Remember that schools must provide services to many children at once, and now you can devote time to your children alone. Ty Salvant, a veteran homeschooler with six children and founder of Louisiana’s NOLA Homeschoolers, emphasized to Fox 8 that parents don’t need to provide six to eight hours of instructional time daily for their children. “One of the tips I give to families of elementary age and younger students is that two hours of instruction is enough, and it doesn’t have to be consecutive,” Salvant said, adding that four hours is appropriate for high school-age children. Consider scheduling the most challenging learning activities in the morning when children may have the most energy. Build in breaks and time for fun activities outside, if possible. Remember, as well, not every subject has to be taught each day. Build in time for household chores – learning responsibility is part of a child’s education. Think of creative ways to make divvying up chores more fun. For example, play “restaurant” one night per week and have children join in making the family meal that night. Alternate roles of “chef,” who chooses and helps prepare the meal with the help of “assistants,” and “waiters,” who set and clear the table. Parents who are working from home might consider a daily schedule that includes their “office hours,” a block of time when they may need to be on the phone or on a web conference and cannot be disturbed, except for emergencies. It’s best to schedule activities that are of high interest to children during these times, so they are more motivated to work or play independently. Don’t overlook board games as educational tools. Children can learn a great deal from games, not the least of which is how to read the body language of one’s opponent – a talent that can be missed when only video games are available. There is no lack of online education tools to help parents during this adjustment to education at home. However, where there is a need for broadband and WiFi internet access, Spectrum is offering both services free to students affected by the school closures during the coronavirus crisis. Charter Communications, Spectrum’s parent company, announced that it would make these services available beginning March 16 for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who don’t already have internet through the company. Xfinity is also offering new customers in a Comcast area 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a national homeschooling association, offers ideas on how to get started with home education. The Homeschool Resource Roadmap was developed by veteran homeschooler Tina Hollenbeck and provides prospective home educators with information about more than 4,000 resources. Homegrown Learners is a website developed by a former public school teacher-turned-homeschooling-parent. The site features curriculum ideas for children of every age and a blog that provides parents with encouragement. Christian homeschooling site Abeka Academy is hosting “online events” to help parents choose curriculum that is most appropriate for their children. Well-Trained Mind Academy offers classical education curriculum for middle and high school students. The American Heritage Education Foundation is a favorite source for homeschoolers for American history instruction for younger children. For older high school students, Hillsdale College provides its celebrated free online courses in history, politics, literature, philosophy, and religion – nearly a full program of learning for an older student. Parents with children who have been diagnosed with autism may want to check out Model Me Kids, which sells apps, videos, and software to teach social skills training for students aged 2-21. The company is offering a 25 percent-off discount on all their social skills training products during this time with the code MMK25OFF. U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) encourages parents to take control of their children’s education during this time and invites them to experience the flexibility that home education offers. Click here for more:

Thanks to Dr. Susan Berry for these great tips!   🙂

Interest in homeschooling grows as schools close

The closure of schools across the nation in response to the coronavirus could be a boon to the homeschooling movement. Breitbart News reported many school districts are not prepared to move to fully online learning models, prompting an increasing interest on social media in homeschooling. Michael Donnelly, staff attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), told Breitbart News “people are going to be confronted with a question, because education in a school may have to stop just because of the coronavirus.” He noted homeschooling has been the mode of educating many children for decades. “It’s a great way for children to learn, to receive an education that’s tailored to their individual learning needs, and that provides a very safe, flexible environment that’s nurturing and supportive,” he said. For parents faced with a school closure, HSLDA has a “quick start” guide and an accompanying video with seven steps to help them explore homeschooling as an option for their children. “We don’t know what this pandemic is going to look like. But it may end up changing people’s behavior,” Donnelly said. “As people have the opportunity to figure out education with their children, in a homeschooling context, some people, I think, are going to say, ‘You know this isn’t so bad; in fact, this is kind of good and I think we’re going to keep doing this,'” he said. Donnelly expects that some day many will “point back to the coronavirus pandemic as the time when they started homeschooling and they started their homeschooling journey.” Neal McCluskey, director of Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, noted that the at-home learning many will engage in as a result of school closures will be driven by the schools rather than the parents. But it could lead to a shift in perspective. “I wouldn’t be surprised if, after lots of initial difficulties, you start to see people say, ‘You know what? There’s actually a lot of benefits to receiving education in the home,'” he said. “Then you may see not just an expansion of online public schooling, which again is what most of this will be, but people seeking more homeschooling that is separated from their public school,” said McCluskey. “And so, it could be the sort of disruption that introduces people to a way of receiving education that they hadn’t really thought of before, they thought was just too weird. And it may make it more mainstream.” Veteran Wisconsin homeschooler Tina Hollenbeck, the owner of The Homeschool Resource Roadmap and The Christian Homeschool Oasis, told Breitbart News she has noticed an increase in current homeschoolers recommending home education. “So, homeschoolers are, in a sense, ‘mobilizing’ to help others begin to homeschool if interest does increase,” she said. She said it must be made clear that “real homeschooling is its own distinct legal entity under state law and that it does not involve getting ‘free’ resources or ‘stipends’ from the government.” “We must be very vigilant to insist that the legal distinctions are not blurred so that bureaucrats do not use this situation to try justifying added regulation on actual homeschoolers,” said Hollenbeck. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, homeschoolers doubled between 1999 and 2012, from 850,000 to 1.8 million children, or 3.4% of school-aged children. A group advocating parental rather than government education, U.S. Parents Involved in Education, developed in response to the federally incentivized Common Core State Standards. In a statement to Breitbart News, the group noted the coronavirus is only the latest issue that has fueled homeschooling. Others are “increased bullying of children; mandated, developmentally inappropriate content, including pornography in Comprehensive Sexuality Education programs; LGBTQ+ policies that are confusing and detrimental to mental and physical health; (and) mandated vaccines.” “Parents will find there are more options than they could imagine, specifically tailored for homeschoolers,” USPIE said.

Given what’s going on, homeschooling is definitely a trend we expect will go up.  And, there are now many more resources to support those who want to get involved.  Plus, as the article correctly points out, many parents are not happy with what many public schools are including in their curriculum, which in many cases includes a lot of liberal, politically correct nonsense that isn’t appropriate for kids.

Homeschool parents sue New Jersey, allege ‘unlawful, unconstitutional home intrusion’

Nothing really changed after a New Jersey state social worker banged on Christopher and Nicole Zimmer’s front door, and yet everything was different. Over the next two hours, the social worker quizzed their 15-year-old son, Chris, including questions on whether his parents fought or did drugs. She wanted to see his homeschool curriculum. She wanted to inspect their firearms. She told the Zimmers to sign papers agreeing to turn over their son’s medical records. And then she left, and the Zimmers never saw her again. But they can’t let it go. They can’t erase the memory of what it felt like when they thought the state might take away their son. In April the Zimmers filed a $60 million federal lawsuit against the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency, along with several division officials and the social worker, Michelle Marchese, for an “unlawful and unconstitutional home intrusion.” “It’s the fact that the government just came walking into my door without any cause,” Mr. Zimmer said. Ms. Marchese arrived at their home Jan. 13 in Warren County to investigate a complaint about “improper homeschooling,” which turned into what the Zimmers describe as a protracted fishing expedition on topics ranging from their son’s video games to the family’s firearms. “We want to change it so that they just can’t come pounding on your door and saying, ‘If you don’t let me in, you know who we are; we’re going to take your kid away,’” Mr. Zimmer said. “They need to start telling people what their rights are. If they want to act like cops, they can abide by the law like the police.” The state has responded by filing to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the agency “received a referral and was simply fulfilling its duty by following up,” and that “a parent’s right to familial integrity ‘does not include a right to remain free from child abuse investigations.’” Ms. Marchese has “qualified immunity” from prosecution for acting in her capacity as a state employee, while the Zimmers have “failed to allege facts that plausibly show that Marchese purposefully discriminated against them on any basis,” said the June 30 state motion. Kenneth Rosellini, the Zimmers’ attorney, countered in an Aug. 3 reply brief that “there is a Constitutional Fundamental Right to be free from child abuse investigations where there is ‘no reasonable and articulable evidence giving rise to a reasonable suspicion that a child has been abused or is in imminent danger of abuse.’” The case highlights the tension between state social welfare agencies and homeschool families as the number of children being educated at home continues to grow. More than 2 million children are now involved in homeschooling, said Michael Farris Jr., spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association. “When we get calls, it will more than likely be about a social case worker who says, ‘I got a call from someone else who says you’re not educating your kids,’ or ‘We’ve heard that you’re spanking your kids,’” Mr. Farris said. “Homeschoolers are a unique case, especially because there will be someone, a family friend or even a family member, who disagrees with their choice to homeschool, so they’ll call in an anonymous tip,” he said. “That’s what we’re seeing probably the most.” The Zimmers say they don’t know who called the state to complain about them, although they have a theory. They also said they were stunned at how little the caseworker appeared to know about New Jersey’s homeschool laws. Under the law New Jersey parents have discretion to choose a curriculum for their children that is “academically equivalent to what is provided in the public schools,” said Scott Woodruff, senior counsel with the Home School Legal Defense Association. The Zimmers say they were well versed in the state law given that Ms. Zimmer had already homeschooled an older daughter who recently graduated from college, and that they were alarmed when Ms. Marchese told them they were “doing it wrong.” She asked them to produce attendance records and textbooks, which is not required under New Jersey law, Mr. Zimmer said. “We tried to explain to her that in the state of New Jersey, you’re not required to keep attendance records, you’re not required to have textbooks, [and] you’re free to teach your child what you want to teach your child,” he said. “This is where she started to say we have to follow the public school’s curriculum, and we said, ‘No, we don’t. If that were the case, we’d have our son in the public schools.’”

Excellent!! Kudos to the Zimmers for standing their ground against these NJ state nazis! Hopefully they’ll prevail in their case against the state. We’ll, of course, keep a close eye on how this story develops..

Opposition to Common Core spurs jump in homeschooling

The home-schooling boom is getting a new push due to opposition to Common Core, the controversial national education standard that some parents claim is using their children’s public school lessons to push a political agenda, according to critics of the Washington-backed curriculum.

The more parents hear about Common Core, the more they don’t like it according to several recent polls.  So, more and more parents are turning to home-schooling.  The biggest spike in home-schooling, ironically, seems to be occuring in blue Dem-controlled states like CA and NY where the NEA and other teacher’s unions have an iron-clad grip on the public education system.