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Now What? Deciding Whether to Homeschool During the School Year

by David Engle | Nov 12, 2020 | 4 min read

During the summer, we took a look at the difficult decision on whether to send students back to school with COVID-19 still spreading across the country. Some school districts made the decisions easier by either putting a fully remote school plan into action or mandating a hybrid schedule of both in-person and remote learning. For a while, we didn’t know much about how susceptible kids were to contracting COVID or how sick they might become if they did contract it. Recently, we’ve learned that kids are indeed susceptible to contracting the virus, though their hospitalization and fatality rates thankfully remain low…at least much lower than adults.

In early October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report documenting COVID trends among school-aged children. In this study, it was found that between March 1, 2020 and September 19, 2020, more than 277,000 children had tested positive for coronavirus. Among that number, it was determined that COVID-19 incidence among students ages 12 to 17 was twice as high as children aged 5 to 11. But there is a caveat…cases have since spiked to record numbers in early November, with the US reaching the somber milestone of at least 100,000 positive cases for seven straight days, as well as a record number of COVID-related hospitalizations. While the CDC hasn’t yet released the impact on children during this latest record-breaking surge, it’s safe to assume that positive cases among children have also increased, making school attendance more and more risky with every passing day.

Yes, it looks like a vaccine is on the horizon. But even in the best-case scenario, it won’t be widely available until late in the school year, if not even further into 2021. It’s true that children do not exhibit symptoms as serious as those in adults–but we now know that children are quite capable of carrying and transmitting the virus to adults who can and do experience serious health issues from COVID.

Why is this surge occurring? A combination of factors, really. More relaxed restrictions when the virus had seemed to plateau probably led to a premature feeling of confidence to live life with some sense of normalcy; this may have led to fewer precautions being taken as far as mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. There have been countless stories of irresponsible teenagers and college students completely throwing caution to the wind and hosting huge parties–only to lead to massive outbreaks. Protests and rallies, some with very minimal adherence to distancing and mask-wearing, turn into super-spreader events. Personally speaking, I felt a sense of complacency among many Americans…and it’s hard to blame some people. We’re all experiencing a degree of quarantine fatigue and just want to get back to life as normal. I get it. I haven’t been perfect when it comes to exercising every possible precaution–careful, definitely, but not perfect. And even minor regressions like that can lead to serious consequences.

So, what to do about school? If your child isn’t homeschooling or learning remotely full-time, you just might have another decision to make. As bad as things seemed in March and April, they’re even worse right now, if you can believe that. As I’m writing this, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a world-renowned pediatric medical institution, has recommended that all Philadelphia-area schools (including suburban Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, where I reside) close schools for in-person instruction starting next week due to the “catastrophic situation” and the fact that schools are indeed spreading the virus much more rapidly than in the early stages of the pandemic.

It seems as if we’re at the point where decisions must be made, either by school administrators and health officials or by parents. You obviously only control one of those decisions, but what are your options? Well, your school district may make the decision for you if they opt to eliminate in-person schooling altogether. If that’s not the case, then it’s up to you whether you’re comfortable enough to send your child into school–even if it’s part-time–or pull them out and opt for an entirely remote learning situation. Obviously, this will depend on the options your school district provides. Where I live, schools are operating primarily as a hybrid model, but there’s been an option all year for parents to remove their child and place them into a full-time remote learning classroom. The only issue is, it’s difficult to place the child back into hybrid schooling once they’re fully remote. Again, all school districts are different, so check with yours to see what options you have.

One definite option is homeschooling, which has soared in popularity since last spring. So many parents decided against sending their children back to school altogether, opting instead to do it themselves. If homeschooling is something you’re now wishing you chose, there’s great news–it’s not too late! Yes, it’s November, and your child is already well into the school year, but you can still choose the homeschool route and not miss a beat. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Contact your school district. Every state has different laws regarding homeschooling. You can find yours right here, and once you know what you need to do, get in touch with your local school district and take whatever steps are necessary to remove your child from the school system and move them to homeschooling.
  • Call Bridgeway Academy. We’d love to have you as part of our family! And it’s never too late to enroll with Bridgeway. We offer so many homeschooling options to fit your schedule, budget, and most importantly, your child’s personality and learning preferences. Bridgeway provides online self-paced options that allow your child to go at his or her own pace, as well as a complete homeschool academy experience that provides full academic support, important accreditation, and personalized learning for students of all ages.

We’re thrilled to offer families just like yours our homeschool transition packages, designed for those who are in your situation and are considering switching to homeschool amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Whether your child is in grades 1 through 5, grades 6 through 8, or grades 9 through 12, we have a package just for you. Our academic advisors will help you every step of the way, whether you choose one of the packages above, one of our Total Care packages, or a few Live Online Classes.

It’s unfortunate that we’re still in this situation at this point in the year, but you do have options if you’re feeling uneasy about keeping your child in school as COVID-19 cases explode across the country. Bridgeway is always ready to help should you decide homeschooling is the right choice for your family. Call us today at (800) 863-1474. And come join us for our Virtual Open House on Thursday, November 19 at 2:00 pm EST! During this event, you can learn so much more about Bridgeway’s programs and have a chance to ask any questions you might have. Register here…we hope to see you there!

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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