Homeschooling Resources at Your Fingertips

Ask An Academic Advisor! Tips for Starting Homeschool Mid-Year and More…

by David Engle | Dec 22, 2020 | 6 min read

Though a COVID-19 vaccination is just starting to circulate, bringing some much-needed light to the end of a long and dark tunnel, it’s still going to be some time before things are back to “normal”…whatever that even was. In the meantime, schools are likely going to keep opening, then closing, then opening again, and so on, until a significant portion of the population has received both doses of the vaccine. And that may not be until summer or fall.

With all the uncertainty still very much swirling, and with the possibility of it stretching into the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, many families have decided to–and will most likely continue to–pull their children out of public or private school and begin homeschooling.

The prospect of starting a whole new form of schooling–especially halfway through the school year–can be stressful. Now’s a great time to do it though–Bridgeway is offering a money-saving Half-Year special for grades 1 through 12!

If you are considering getting your child into homeschool, that’s where Bridgeway Academy’s academic advisors come in! I recently had a conversation with one of Bridgeway’s amazing advisors, Jaime Goulet. Jaime has been an academic advisor with Bridgeway for four years, holds a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, has teaching experience in both classroom and online environments, and is currently homeschooling her two elementary school-aged sons.

I asked Jaime about how to start homeschooling during the academic year, what our academic advisors do to help, and other timely topics. So, read on to learn more…right from a Bridgeway academic advisor!

Bridgeway Academy: Jaime, what is a Bridgeway advisor able to help students and families with once they decide to enroll?

Jaime Goulet: An academic advisor can help you customize your child’s curriculum. They will speak with you regarding your student’s previous educational experience and align the package and courses to where your child should be for the remainder of the school year. Along with customization and attention to detail, a personal advisor will be there to encourage you, assist you throughout the school year, help with grading or grade entirely depending on the program, complete quarterly check-ins, and generate report cards and transcripts. They’ll also familiarize you with your state homeschooling laws and keep you informed of any necessary requirements, which is very important for families new to homeschooling.

At the end of the school year, your advisor will also guide you through the proper steps to create a portfolio or complete your state’s documents, testing requirements, and end-of-year evaluation. For day-to-day purposes, they can help you create a routine and schedule, offer suggestions on how to create a “homeschooling space,” and make recommendations based on your child’s learning style. Your advisor will be your biggest advocate!

BA: What do you, as an academic advisor, recommend when starting an academy program mid-year?

JG: It’s very important to establish a few things right away. First, create a positive workspace within your home. Your advisor can give ideas based on your child’s learning style assessment. Next, I would establish a set schedule as to which days and times you and your student will be having school. Most families follow a typical weekday school schedule and start the day around the same time they did when enrolled in their previous school or program. The next step I would take is to speak with your child about “classroom/homeschool management.” That means parents and kids working together to create a set of rules, rewards, and consequences. Finally…get excited! With homeschooling, you now have the flexibility to adapt your child’s education to their own specific needs. Discuss what you will be learning and start exploring your new learning materials!

BA: How does one enroll in homeschooling during the middle of a school year? Can you take us through that process?

JG: Enrolling in the middle of the school year may sound stressful, but it really isn’t when you have your own academic advisor! Advisors are certified teachers with a wealth of knowledge in the educational field. After your enrollment is processed you will be assigned an academic advisor. Once assigned, you will be contacted within 24 hours…not including weekends. They will review the program and package you signed up for to make sure it’s the best fit for your child and suggest changes if necessary. If applicable, your child will take a learning style assessment and a series of placement tests. An explanation of the scores will be shared and curriculum options will be discussed based on the program you selected.

Once approved, you’ll receive your materials and start within a short period of time. The great thing is, advisors will not allow you to move forward until you feel confident in your decision. They will suggest a curriculum based on your initial conversation, your child’s learning style, testing results, and your plans for the future. Your Bridgeway academic advisor can help you finish out the school year with ease, structure, and success! If a family decides to send their child back to their old school, that’s no problem either. An advisor will generate a report card or transcript so that a student can easily transfer back into the public or private school system.

BA: What are families’ favorite parts about working with an academic advisor?

JG: Your advisor is your “go-to” person. Families should always feel free to contact them with any questions or whenever they need additional help or resources. Advisors have teaching experience and many have or are currently homeschooling their own children as well! Over the course of the school year, you’ll definitely develop a personal relationship with your advisor, and you will work together as a “team” to ensure your child has a fantastic school year!

BA: That’s exactly what every parent wants! But what if the programs or classes a family or student chooses aren’t working out…how can an advisor help?

JG: First off, Bridgeway offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so that helps ease some nerves. Also, it will be important to keep an open, honest relationship with your academic advisor. If something is not working, be sure to tell them right away. Just like you do, advisors want your year to go smoothly and be a success, so do not hesitate bringing concerns to them. An advisor can help remedy an issue by switching up curriculum or providing additional resources to enhance the course material. Programs and packages can also be switched if needed, as long as it falls within Bridgeway policies. Your advisor can also help you pivot in another direction by using new ideas, fresh resources, and taking into consideration any learning modifications or adaptations your child may need moving forward.

BA: How often are advisors generally in touch with students/families?

JG: You can arrange a Q&A session with your advisor once you receive your books or you’re set up online and ready to start school. They would be more than happy to walk you through the online platforms, discuss and show you how to upload assignments, navigate the system, use the curriculum and teacher guides, and simplify what is to be expected throughout the school year. Once your child is in the process of homeschooling, your advisor will conduct quarterly check-ins to ensure you are staying on track. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to wait that long to contact or speak to your advisor! Advisors are always accessible Monday through Friday. You can always email or call them should you need assistance with anything at all.

BA: What’s the one piece of advice you would give prospective homeschoolers right now, particularly given the education climate (remote schooling, COVID closures, etc.)?

JG: A lot of districts were not prepared for the influx of remote learning. Bridgeway, on the other hand, is a well-oiled machine. We have been around for years and specialize in homeschooling. Our teachers, advisors, and staff are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to make homeschooling successful. Bridgeway offers a structured experience that takes all the guesswork out of the transition! You can have confidence knowing that your child is receiving a quality education in a safe environment, with an academy that also holds nationally recognized accreditations. We do not take your child’s education lightly, so we will be there the entire way to support you and cheer you on!

Our many thanks to Jaime for taking the time to answer these questions–and a big thanks to all of Bridgeway Academy’s academic advisors for being there for families and students every step of the way. This has been a difficult school year for many families, but with the help of these highly qualified advisors, making the transition to–or even from–homeschooling is much smoother. If you’re looking to homeschool for the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year, you’re in the right place. Bridgeway Academy offers a high-quality education in a variety of forms–online, textbook, self-paced, live classes, and more–as well as the flexibility you need during these challenging times. And, as mentioned before, Bridgeway is offering $100 off all half-year Total Care programs by using code 100TCHY2021 on our website. Call us today at (800) 863-1474 to learn more and see why so many families trust Bridgeway Academy with their child’s education.

David Engle
Hello, and thanks for reading! I’m David Engle--dad, husband, sports fan, and writer/editor. As a father for the last 18 years (father of two for the last 14), I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in all things related to education, childhood, and parenting, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to share some insights and knowledge with fellow parents. I have been a professional writer and editor for a quarter of a century (it pains me to admit that) and have been writing in the educational space for a number of those years. I reside in southern New Jersey with my wife, two kids, two dogs, and three cats. Never a dull moment.
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