When school went virtual for a majority of the 2020-21 academic year due to COVID-19, children got a dose of homeschooling with remote learning. Now, with a better understanding of the virus and how to prevent its spread, along with vaccines readily available to qualifying individuals, school is back in session in the traditional setting for most students enrolled in public school — in classrooms among their peers. While roughly a full year was spent schooling from home, the experience differed from traditional homeschooling. And certain districts continue to offer a virtual learning option for a limited number of students.
Connie Glover-Nieto has been homeschooling her daughter, Grace, now 12, since she was in kindergarten. She and her husband made the decision due to her music teaching schedule, which keeps her busy from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. during the week.
“When we were thinking about what school to send her to for kindergarten, the realization that I was not going to be able to interact with my child from 7:30 in the morning to about 10 at night was really heavy,” she said. “Upon realizing my moments with her were going to be cut short because of my work, I thought, ‘You know what? I can homeschool. I can do this.’”
The flexibility of homeschooling has allowed Glover-Nieto to fulfill her desire to remain the biggest influence in her daughter’s life while continuing to teach music to other children. Though her daughter’s learning doesn’t have to start and end at the same time each day, Glover-Nieto has structured her education similar to a traditional school environment.
Glover-Nieto is part of a homeschooling co-op with other families in which the parents and guardians take turns teaching children of the same age different subjects.
“It really works for us and gives our children access to other teachers’ views,” she said. “Deciding to homeschool is a big deal. We’re taking on the sole responsibility of educating our children, so we want to make sure we get it right.
“Having a community and support system to rely on is a tremendous help in this journey.”
While homeschooling, families can decide to emulate standard classroom learning. Virtual public schooling from home abides a daily regime.
Jess LeFlore has three children enrolled in public school and said juggling their schedules — from start time to lunch to breaks — was a challenge. So, she switched them to homeschooling.
“With parent-led homeschooling, we are at our pace, on our time, and can focus on each child’s needs,” LeFlore said.
When it comes to their child needing extra help in a certain subject, homeschooling families must seek out their own resources and methods for supplementing their child’s education, such as turning to one another or hiring a private tutor. Meanwhile, tutoring is offered to students in public schools on a regular basis.
“One of my boys has virtual school and is on all day, but he’s able to get more help from his teachers and attend tutoring following the school schedule,” Luci Ann said. “My son who is a senior is online for maybe three hours a day, with most of his assignments as independent work and the interaction with teachers very minimal — tutoring offered as needed.
“They love virtual and want to attend virtual as long as possible.”
While many families decide to homeschool to accommodate their family’s schedule, which may include travel, field trips, and their work, public schooling from home also provides for a more lenient schedule, with a school day typically falling hours short of the traditional in-person schedule, depending on the district.
Glover-Nieto had her reasons for homeschooling, but said the decision for every family is unique.
“What brings us to the table for homeschooling is really so different and personal, and that’s what’s so great about it,” she said.
If families are interested in homeschooling, she recommends connecting with a local homeschooling group or an online community.