Homeschooling has gained popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic for a variety of reasons. Deciding if homeschooling is the right fit for your family can be a difficult choice. Whatever your reason for considering homeschooling for your family, be sure to use the resources below to help make your final decision.
What is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling is when caregivers educate their children at home instead of sending them to a public, charter or private school. In a homeschool, caregivers are the ones responsible for overseeing the education of their child. Caregivers make all education decisions resulting in an education that is customized to meet the child’s and family’s needs. While families can broaden their definition of education beyond traditional academics, educational choices made must still comply with state homeschooling laws.
Michigan’s Homeschool Laws
Exemption (f) Home School 380.1561(3)(f) states:
"A child shall not be required to attend the public schools in the following cases:
(f) The child is being educated at the child's home by his or her parent or legal guardian in an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar.”
If a home school family chooses to operate under exemption (f), the conditions listed below apply:
- The Michigan Department of Education plays no role within the homeschool family
- The homeschool family does not report as a nonpublic school to the Michigan Department of Education
- Intermediate and local school districts are responsible for interpreting and enforcing the Compulsory School Attendance Law
- There are no minimum qualifications for teachers except that they must be the parents or legal guardians of the children
- The homeschool family must provide "an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar"
Be sure to read this guide that breaks down this Michigan law.
What are the Benefits and Challenges of Homeschooling?
- Flexibility. Families have freedom from a traditional school schedule. This allows families to make a school schedule that works for them.
- Customized education. Families can create an individualized education plan for each child. This allows education that is not restricted by grade level and meets children where they are.
- No standardized testing. Homeschooling in Michigan does not require standardized testing. Therefore, more time is spent on educational goals rather than teaching in preparation for a test.
- More time for play and non-core subjects. Many schools are cutting back the time students spend on play, art, music, and physical education (PE). These subjects are important aspects of a child’s learning that can be added back into their education.
- Meet health and emotional needs. With homeschooling, families can create a safe and positive learning environment free from peer pressure, bullying and school violence. Additionally, families can minimize their risk of catching COVID-19.
- Cost. Caregivers are responsible for purchasing all educational supplies including the curriculum, textbooks and laptops. Other cost considerations include field trips, childcare, adjusting work hours, or one parent staying home. Create a budget and look for low-cost options to stretch your money further.
- Time. The traditional 7-hour school day has many families worried they won’t have time to homeschool their children. However, homeschooling is much more efficient and won’t require as many hours as traditional school. Take a good look at your family’s schedule to see how much time you can dedicate to homeschooling each week.
- Socialization. Many families have concerns with lack of socialization opportunities if they homeschool. Families can add socialization to their homeschooling routine by joining a homeschooling group, club, local organization or religious group.
- Isolation and burnout. Homeschooling puts all the responsibility and pressure on parents. Check your emotional health—is this something you can handle right now? With the growing popularity of homeschooling, there are many resources you can take advantage of. Joining a homeschooling group, hiring a tutor, or signing up for local classes can lighten your educational responsibilities.
Connect with Homeschooling Families
Have a conversation with experienced homeschooling families to get your questions answered about the challenges and rewards of homeschooling. Try some of the local homeschooling groups below.
- Homeschooling in Michigan Facebook Group
- Meetups for Homeschoolers in the Ann Arbor Area Facebook Group
- Secular Homeschoolers of Southeast Michigan Facebook Group
Homeschooling is a big decision that shouldn’t be made quickly. Sit down with everyone involved to discuss your options. Remember, there are many resources out there to guide you when making your decision.