Stress. Uncertainty. Fear. Anxiety. These are just a few of the words that may come to mind when presented with the prospect of starting a whole new form of schooling–especially halfway through a school year. This is especially true for families that leave traditional schooling behind in favor of homeschooling. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, switching to homeschooling mid-year can be pretty painless and stress-free. Here’s what you need to know when deciding whether to make the mid-year switch:
Why Families Are Making the Move to Homeschooling
There are quite a few reasons more and more parents have decided they’ve had enough with the public school system–and even private schools–even if that means removing their child from school in the middle of the school year and creating another source of stress.
- COVID-19: We all know the effects that COVID-19 has had on education. Forecasts of potentially severe learning loss, social-emotional issues, the lack of face-to-face interaction, the increase of depression and anxiety among teens and kids, and the emergency implementation–and, to a degree, failure–of remote learning have polluted the education world and clouded the outlook for students across the globe since the onset of COVID. More recently, vaccine and mask mandates have made headlines. Regardless of beliefs or personal preference, COVID-19 has been instrumental in creating a certain amount of dysfunction within the school system, and many parents simply do not want to deal with it anymore.
- Cultural beliefs and representations: This topic has become a major source of debate and contention. Many people are vehemently opposed to what they consider history being revised and feel that, good or bad, our history is what it is, it should not be changed, and that is what students should be taught. On the other side of that argument is the fact that many minorities feel both misrepresented and under-represented within the context of American history, due in part to implicit racism and bias. At the end of the day, neither side wants their children learning what schools are teaching, and parents are removing their children for these reasons.
- Bullying: The numbers are disturbing–based on 2017 and 2019 data and research, one out of every five children (20%) in the U.S. experiences bullying between ages 12 and 18. It’s even worse globally–one out of every three children (33%) is bullied. Keeping in mind that persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, and exclusion, as well as depression and anxiety, it’s not surprising that this type of bullying can contribute to suicidal thoughts and behavior. For parents, knowing their child is being bullied at school is one of the most helpless and heartbreaking feelings they can experience. And rather than let it progress to the point of tragedy, they’re simply removing their child from a toxic situation.
- General discontent with schools: While children can undoubtedly receive a high-quality education in a public or private school, many families simply want to put their child on a different path. Traditional schools rely heavily on standardized testing and a one-size-fits-all approach to education. The problem is, kids come with different learning abilities and styles. Teaching material in only one way may benefit a fortunate few in the classroom. The rest of the class? They’re either bored because they’ve already mastered the material and are simply waiting to move onto the next topic; or they’re lost, confused, and ultimately left behind by lesson plans and curriculum that don’t stop for anyone. Either situation is an extraordinary source of frustration for students and parents alike.
The one solution to all of these issues? Homeschooling. With homeschooling, parents can take full control of their child’s education, from the lessons they learn to the way they learn them to how often they learn them. Flexibility is perhaps the most appealing aspect of homeschooling, as parents can customize their child’s curriculum to their strengths and needs, create a schedule that works for everyone in the household, and allow the child to explore and experience the success they deserve.
When you’re ready to begin your search for the right homeschool, there are quite a few important factors to consider. (Protip: Bridgeway Academy offers all of them!)
- Accreditation: Accreditation demonstrates that homeschool academies care about the quality of the education they provide by having their enrollment methods, staff qualifications, materials, resource allocation, program effectiveness, and more assessed on a yearly basis. It shows that an institution is always seeking to improve its standards, quality, and systems and that they have a history of reliability and trustworthiness. Bridgeway Academy is recognized as a diploma-granting institution by the Pennsylvania State Department of Education and accredited by Cognia, which includes: North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), as well as The National Association of Private Schools. This guarantees a quality accredited education no matter where you live in the U.S. or abroad.
- Accommodation of learning styles: Bridgeway has developed a unique learning and personality style assessment that gives you insight into how your child learns best. Your results allow us to tailor curriculum to your child’s unique strengths and challenges to set them up for academic success. This is what makes learning fun and keeps kids excited about what is next! Whether you decide to use Bridgeway Academy or not, be sure to take our Learning Style Assessment now and get the valuable insight you need before making curriculum decisions for your child.
- Teacher assistance: A good education involves more than just learning facts and memorizing formulas. That’s why we have created Homeschool Instructor’s Guides for every course. Your Instructor’s Guide provides day-by-day pacing, notes to parents, and ideas to take learning further. From websites to interactive activities to hands-on projects and critical-thinking activities, we’ve done the planning for you.
- Grade-level flexibility: Your child is literally one of a kind, which is why we conduct in-depth placement testing to see where s/he excels and where s/he may need some extra help. So, rather than just place a child in a specific grade level, we cater each program to address their areas of opportunity and build on their strengths–something many other cyber schools and homeschool academies are simply not equipped to do.
- Overall flexibility: By enabling you to determine the months and days that your child receives instruction, you’re empowered to create a truly customized school year. Homeschooling with Bridgeway gives you the freedom to create flexible daily goals that enable your child to learn at a time and a pace that make the most sense for your lives. In addition, you have the flexibility to determine which subjects you focus on each day. Why? Because sometimes children need more time in a particular subject in order to fully master a skill or concept. With Bridgeway, your child can cut back work in their stronger subjects until they have mastered the area of difficulty.
- Support: Make no mistake…even the most experienced homeschoolers need support throughout the school year. Our caring, enthusiastic academic advisors are teachers and former homeschoolers who understand the challenges and rewards of homeschooling. They are available by email and phone to answer questions on any subject and provide you with tips and techniques to better explain concepts to your child. Our resource-rich, members-only website and online tutorials round out our environment of support.
- Choice of curriculum: All too often a homeschool academy is created to support one specific publisher, giving you little to no choice about what you receive. But with Bridgeway Academy, you have a partner that has no bias or financial agenda toward one particular curriculum. And because we select the best components from top curriculum publishers around the country, you and your advisor can create a truly customized course of study. Every publisher, every course, every plan has just one goal in mind–homeschooling success for both you and your child.
- Selection of electives: One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the ability to allow students to pursue their interests, gifts, and abilities. That’s why we offer electives in music, art, foreign languages, and more. We’re also open to your suggestions for electives. Let us know which elective you’d like to teach, and we’ll provide guidelines to help ensure your child gets the deserved academic credit.
- Specialized academic tracks: Your child has unique goals and dreams. Recognizing that, Bridgeway offers the following tracks: technical/vocational, academic, college preparatory, honors and Advanced Placement, and Dual Enrollment (college courses).
We’ve certainly given you a lot to think about–but that’s a good thing when it comes to homeschooling. If you didn’t have an abundance of options, there wouldn’t be much reason to switch your child–especially at mid-year–to homeschooling. Now that you know what to look for in a homeschool, download our whitepaper, How to Switch to Homeschooling Mid-Year for even more information about switching to homeschooling during the school year, how Bridgeway Academy makes it easy, and for a checklist that takes you step by step through the process.