I have been homeschooling my daughter since school closures in mid-March and decided that I will continue to teach her myself for another year. She is thriving in our current set up and has made tremendous progress in the past four months. If you decided to temporarily homeschool due to COVID-19, here is a guideline to help you navigate this new adventure. Before getting into it, I would like to say that I am new to homeschooling. I’ve only been doing it for four months, so feel free to leave a comment to share your knowledge if you are a homeschool veteran.
In Flagstaff, a signed Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool is required within 30 days of the beginning of instruction. Please note that you are required to have the document notarized, and you must include your child’s original state-issued birth certificate. Photocopies are not accepted. If you decide to mail the necessary documents, ensure that you include a stamped envelope so that your child’s original birth certificate is sent back to you. However, if you do not feel comfortable mailing the original birth certificate, you can make an appointment with the Coconino County Superintendent of Schools. During your appointment, bring your child’s original birth certificate with you as well as your picture ID so that you can get the Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool notarized. Due to COVID-19, you must wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth. The whole process takes a few minutes. Once it is done, contact the principal of your child’s school to let them know about your decision to homeschool. An e-mail or a phone call should suffice. For more detailed information visit Coconino County Arizona
Picking a curriculum can be overwhelming. There are many options available and various learning styles. Because you are temporary homeschooling, I would suggest contacting your child’s school teacher and ask what material the class is going to use. Once you feel comfortable sending your child back to school, this will make for an easy transition. Many teaching materials are available online for free or at a cost. Instead of adhering to the school’s curriculum, you can also do your own online search and find the appropriate one for your child. The best homeschool curriculum is one that fits your child’s educational needs and interests. Keep in mind that per Arizona Revised Statute 15-802, children between the ages of six and sixteen years must be instructed in reading, grammar, science, math, and social studies. In Arizona, your child isn’t required to take tests, and there is no need to have the curriculum approved.
You have decided to temporarily homeschool; thus, you don’t have to go all out and buy a lot of supplies ahead of time. Start homeschooling for a few weeks, and you will have a better idea of what additional materials you will need to teach. In my case, I turned our formal dining room area into our “classroom” and used the empty hutch as storage for all our materials. Once you start the process, you will quickly learn what additional supplies you and your child will need. Do not feel pressured to go on a shopping spree right away.
Homeschool is integrated into home life, and in addition to teaching various subjects, homeschooling allows you to teach your child real-life skills. In our household, I teach my daughter how to complete domestic tasks, and once life returns to normal, I look forward to embracing the full homeschooling experience, which includes in-person extra-curricular activities, field trips, co-ops, etc.
There are plenty of homeschooling groups on Facebook. I suggest finding a local group. My understanding is that before COVID-19, many homeschoolers often met, and socialization is a big part of homeschooling. With COVID-19, many families are taking a more cautious approach, and there aren’t any meetings that I am aware of. Even if socialization is on hold, it is helpful to have the support of an online community.
Homeschooling is very different from traditional schooling. When you teach your child at home, they have one on one guidance every day. In other words, it is similar to private tutoring. Unlike traditional schooling, you can make up your own schedule. It doesn’t mean that your child runs wild all day in their pajamas. On the contrary, structure and discipline are the pillars of homeschooling.
Although I haven’t been homeschooling for too long, one lesson I quickly learned is that learning is not a chore, learning is a growth process, and it should be fun for you and your child.
So, now that you are on the homeschooling path, enjoy this amazing adventure. Who knows, maybe you might decide to keep homeschooling even after the pandemic is finally over.