Homeschool and remote learning options during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 4:48 PM EDT
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With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, some parents may be considering homeschooling their children in the fall.

There are a number of steps families must take to homeschool their children, and it requires the creation of an acceptable curriculum. There are also advantages and disadvantages to consider.

First, parents must notify the superintendent of the school district in which they reside of their intent to homeschool their children no later than the first week of public school in that district. The notification must include an outline of their planned curriculum, the educational credentials that make them qualified to teach all required subjects, and a list of textbooks, correspondence courses, and other materials the parent plans to use.

In Ohio, parents choosing to homeschool their children must do the following, as well:

-Provide their children with 900 hours of instruction each year.

-Notify the superintendent every year that they plan to continue homeschooling.

-Provide an assessment of your child’s work. Find the link to the relevant requirements for this. assessment under Related Links on the right side of this screen.

In addition, to serve as a homeschool teacher in Ohio, parents must have one of the following in terms of education:

-A high school diploma

-A G.E.D. certificate

-Standardized test scores demonstrating their education to be of high school equivalence

-Another credential determined to be appropriate by the superintendent

Requirements and qualifications in West Virginia are similar. According to Christy Day, executive director in the office of communications at the West Virginia Department of Education, parents in the state who choose to homeschool their children must provide:

-A one-time notice of intent to homeschool sent to the county superintendent that includes the name, address, and age of the child or children who will receive home instruction. This must be provided on or before the date that schooling is to begin.

-Assurance the child will receive instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

An as far as education, a parent in West Virginia must possess a high school diploma or equivalent, or a post-secondary degree or certificate from a regionally accredited institution or from an institution or higher education authorized to confer degrees or certificates by the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical Education or by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

According to Dr. Jona Hall, director of curriculum and technology for Marietta City Schools, it is also important to note the difference between homeschooling and online schooling.

“There is a definite difference between what parents think of as homeschool versus online school that is done at home,” Hall said. “In traditional homeschooling, parents are providing the materials, agreeing to design a curriculum that has specific requirements set by the state. They are agreeing that they are going to assure their child is getting the correct amount of [educational] hours under their watch while at home,” she added.

Conversely, Hall explained, online schooling done at home entails enrolling your students in an online school, with coursework being administered by that school.

“If a child is doing online school within their home, that is no different from them unenrolling from our district and, say, moving to a neighboring district,” Hall said.

Additionally, Hall pointed out that the selection of an online school relies heavily upon the research done by the parent. While the Ohio Board of Education could potentially provide some guidance, most school districts do not, and the decision ultimately falls on the parent. Moreover, some online schools are of a higher quality than others, and not all schools meet every state’s educational requirements. Some of the advantages that a student would have were they enrolled in the public school -- such as access to extracurricular activities -- will be lost, as well if a student is doing online schooling.

Hall also noted that the Marietta City School District is broadening its potential for remote learning to accommodate families concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic. As a response to the pandemic, it has become a one-to-one district. This means that, beginning next school year, all students are loaned tablets or Chromebooks to use during their time in school. Teachers are also being trained in Google Classroom, ensuring that educational content can be accessed online and further broadening the potential for remote learning. The district is also addressing the issue of access to the Internet among students and families.

While individual families’ cases will need to be reviewed and precise guidelines for remote learning are still being determined, this form of learning is expected to be an option in some form for concerned parents.

For more information on homeschooling in visit the websites of the Ohio and West Virginia Boards of Education. Find those links under Related Links on the right side of this screen.