Trailblazer Tribune Blog:
Encouragement for families educating their children at home.
You CAN homeschool!
Five tips for Encouraging Your Reluctant Reader!
We have all met that one bright and happy child who hates to read! Motivating a reluctant reader can be a real challenge! We want our kids to LOVE to read and learn!
If you have been considering homeschooling you know that getting started can be overwhelming! Here are some quick facts to help you get started.
Although the legal aspects of homeschooling vary from state to state, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and is not overly regulated. The process for most homeschooling families is reasonably straightforward. Basically, the parents determine if homeschooling is the best choice for their family, choose a curriculum and decide if they will teach their children or possibly hire a private tutor. Ohio regulations require that a parent complete an annual notification and submit this notice to their local superintendent. Parents can withdraw their students from public education simply by submitting the notification and may begin homeschooling the same day.
Even though the popularity of homeschooling has been increasing in recent years, parents may face questions regarding the legal issues of homeschooling from well-meaning extended family members. Explaining your decision to homeschool isn't always easy, but it helps if you can be kind and firm. Even though others may initially have concerns about your decision to teach your child at home, it is not uncommon for extended family to change their minds once they begin to see the benefits homeschooling brings to the children they love. Many grandparents even volunteer to help with homeschooling! A recent story shared by the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association is a great example of how grandparents can significantly help families educate their children at home.
"Cheryl Celebi and her husband determined last fall that the best way to keep their four kids safe and learning during the pandemic was to switch to homeschooling—but the decision came with a catch. Both parents were engaged in demanding careers. Cheryl recently bought a business that markets radio frequency, microwave, and fiber-optic components, and her husband, Kaan, works in construction—which means he can't telecommute. These responsibilities, in turn, reduced the Celebis' ability to flex their schedules to homeschool. But just as homeschool families have been doing for decades, the couple got creative and recruited the help of a retired teacher and that teacher's husband—who also happen to be Cheryl's mom and dad." (HSLDA)
The main argument against homeschooling has to do with socialization. The conventional wisdom has been that public school is necessary to develop socialization skills for children to become adjusted, productive members of society. However, proponents of homeschooling point to research that shows this is not the case and that socialization through the local public school system is little more than a form of indoctrination. Research shows that homeschooling provides students with superior skills in self-regulation and the ability to work independently. Homeschooling works for many children and, at the very least, should be considered a viable option.
For some parents, the ability to tailor their child's education exactly to fit their needs is a powerful argument for homeschooling. Learning a language, music, reading comprehension, or history at home with their parents demonstrates to children the value of learning and gives them the satisfaction of self-motivated work. Parents can confidently educate their children at home with support from a homeschooling cooperative or online support group. Parents in many areas of the country can significantly benefit from networking with other homeschooling families, providing them with the confidence, support, and resources to successfully educate their children at home.
June 27, 2020
Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Seriously Consider Homeschooling for Your Child
As details emerge about options for public schooling this fall, more and more parents are seriously considering homeschooling for the first time .
While some may see this as a passing fad, homeschooling is a viable method of education and has been popular in the United States for several decades. Homeschooling is legal in all parts of the United States. You can check out the laws for the State of Ohio on the Ohio Homeschooling Parents website
About 4% of the students in the United States today are homeschoolers. In 2019, homeschoolers accounted for 2.5 million students. Statistics about homeschool student performance, and even the percentage of homeschoolers that go on to higher education, (hint - it's much higher than the national average) can be found at the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) website.
1. Freedom and Flexibilty
Homeschooling gives parents the freedom and the flexibilty to choose what is best for their child. Does your child need help with reading? Are they advanced in math? Do they thrive in an environment where they get to help choose what they learn about? Homeschooling allows parents to completely tailor their child's education to their child's needs and desires. Don’t want your child to miss out on life’s little moments that don’t align with school timetables? Homeschooling is your way to de-stress your school life AND include learning in a variety of situations.
This can be best visualized with the help of a few anecdotal examples:
If your child catches the flu, they needn’t sit with a sore throat for the sake of compulsory attendance. They can recover and resume at their own pace, in the comfort of your home.
There are no more close family weddings or precious interactions with the grandparents to be missed out. The school goes everywhere with the child, in the form of you. Learning is no longer confined to classrooom, but happens everywhere, everyday.
There are no monotonous routines or time lost standing in line or waiting for lunch. With homeschooling, you may find you can accomplish as much in a few hours as your child would normally accomplish in a full day of school. Rather than wasting hours of instruction time by riding the bus, standing in line, waiting for the talkative kids to get quiet... you can have focused time for education.
Having less wasted time means you'll have more time for engaging your child's interests. You may choose to focus on a hobby with your child one afternoon, baking together, playing games, visiting the park, or even just getting outside to play. Children love these surprises and learn better this way!
Homeschooling can happen any time of the day, you're not stuck with a 9-5 routine anymore. If parents work during the day, homeschooling can happen in the evenings, and vice versa.
2. Save Money
Many people think homeschooling has to be expensive, this could not be farther from the truth. Homeschoolers get to skip out on the typical "school" spending that many parents dread. Looking over a local school districts supply list, they require about $100 in supplies including several items for the entire class to use. In addition, there is a $40 supply fee. Add up buying back to school clothing and the latest shoes, as well as daily lunch money, fundraisers, and various other transportation and supply costs and you'll have spent hundreds over the course of a school year, if not thousands to attend a public school. Private school tuition, uniforms and similar fees can easily surpass $10,000 per student annually.
By comparison, homeschoolers only purchase the supplies they need. They also make purchses for clothing when it is actually needed or desired rather than all at one time. And cafeteria lunches and fundraisers become a thing of the past. In addition, there are many FREE, or almost free, curriculum resources for farmilies to use including curriculum libraries like this one at Excellence in Learning and online resources like Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool
Homeschooling doesn't have to break the bank and is often a less expensive alternative to public or private schooling.
There are a lot of ways in which homeschooling can provide a safer learning environment:
Develop your child's sense of self and security
Protect from bullying and other unhealthy behaviors
Protect from abuse
Protect from violence
Prevent disease transmission and limit contact/exposer to sick people.
4. Closeness as a Family
Families are busy. Kids rush off to school in the mornings, mom's and dad's work all day, then there are sports teams and extra curriculars and by the time you know it families see each other less than 15 hours per week on average. The more time you spend with your child, the more you will understand their needs, which naturally brings a closer connection and bond as a family.
Homeschooling can help you manage your busy schedules without missing out on family time. With public schooling there is a limit to parent's participation, but with homeschooling parents and students are on a journey together and parents get to participate in the day to day teaching of their children. This one on one interaction naturally fosters closer relationships and better family time. And don't think you can't still do all the extra curriculars or sports. Homeschoolers are protected by the "Tebow" law in Ohio. Named for the famous athlete, Tim Tebow - who was also a homeschool student, the law protects students rights to participate with school sports and extra curriular programs.
5. Shape their Future
Rather than focusing on attendence, report cards, projects, and never ending homework assignments, you will discover who your child really is through homeschooling. If your child is gifted in music, you can focus on this gifting and explore opportunities in the larger community for them. If they are an artist, you'll be able to identify mentors and art classes for them, like the one taught by Diana Andrews at ELCC. Maybe they are mechanical, or interested in horses, or want to learn all about animals... Homeschooling gives parents the opportunity to shape their child's future by giving them opportunities that aren't available in most public or private school settings.
Homeschooling co-ops like ELCC offer the best of both worlds with weekly fun, social, and academic classes that students can sign up for without all the negative aspects of a public school environment.
Getting to know your child even better and spending quality time learning and exploring together is one of the most rewarding and beautiful adventures of a lifetime, both yours and theirs. Learn together how homeschooling can work for your family!
Virtual Field Trips
May 22, 2020
In honor of Memorial Day and all those who gave their lives to protect and defend our freedoms, we wanted to share this extra special freebie Friday resource with you.
Learn about the sacrifices, the battles, and most of all the courageous men and women who fought for our freedoms though the museums which honor each branch of our military. Although they may be closed right now, or under construction, they each have integrated some amazing virtual resources that will thrill your young learner.
National Museum of the United States Air Force – Take a 360° virtual tour of this museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. Don't miss checking out the Cockpit360 option where you can experience 100 different aircraft via 360° image. The Cockpit360 app can also be downloaded for free in the Apple or Google Play stores. Plus, under the Education link in the upper menu on their site, you can keep the learning going for hours under the Kids & Parents section where you will find coloring pages, puzzles, Lesson Plans, Resource guides, and more fun learning activities to supplement your studies. https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Virtual-Tour/
National Museum of the U.S. Army Campaign is funding the completion of the National Museum of the U.S. Army in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Despite construction, their site is beautiful and you can explore the currently available artifacts, history and people online. https://www.thenmusa.org/exhibits/
National Museum of the US Navy – Explore the artifacts and exhibits of this museum in Southeast Washington, DC, at the Washington Navy Yard, through images and texts. Then check out the Distance Learning and Additional Activities link under the Education section in the main menu for a boatload 😉 of educational lessons, ideas and more. https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/museums/nmusn/explore.html
National Museum of the Marine Corps– While this museum in Triangle, Virginia is nearly complete, you can still visit the existing galleries online. Visit the Education Resources page for learning ideas and materials to use with your home learner! https://www.usmcmuseum.com/education-resources.html
Finally, National Coast Guard Museum Association is building the National Coast Guard Museum in New London, Connecticut, was set to began construction last year, but there is still a lot you can learn on their website so check it out! https://www.coastguardmuseum.org
Homeschooling Resources Mega List
March 17, 2020
This post was shared with us from a fellow homeschooling mom, however, it has been flagged as "spam" by some social media sites, so we are reposting here. It is a very comprehensive list of resources!
Shared by Joy Novack Rosson
Ok, so LOTS of parents are suddenly home with their kiddos...
We have always home schooled after I was a classroom teacher for more than a decade, so I say WELCOME and let me help you.😉
A few things to remember, this is a PERFECT time to make memories with your children and learn things beyond "normal" math and reading.
This is a great time to really help your child dig in and spend hours doing or learning something that they love or are passionate about.
Don't forget that there are TONS of documentaries on the streaming services that they might enjoy and learn a lot from.
Here are links that I have gathered to TONS of free fun learning options for all ages from toddlers to AP students to adults. Some are always free and some are only free during this current situation👇
I am making this post public, so feel free to share it far and wide.😍 If you know of a resource for FREE education (either permanent or only during this time) please share it in the comments.
Edit to add: Several have asked for this to be in a google doc to share off of FB. Here you go... https://docs.google.com/…/1fceqmG0nYAI8uGm5Uv_Ilv5PI7…/edit…
March 13, 2020
We want to update you regarding our plans as they pertain to the Governor’s order, current information being shared from the Department of Health, and the COVID19 virus. The situation with this virus has been called, “rapidly changing” and that is an accurate description when it comes to our future plans for classes and events.
When we first published our guidelines for how ELCC will handle COVID19 we said:
“We are having ongoing conversations about what is best for our group and if/when it might be necessary to cancel classes. Ohio is not currently at risk for “community spread” so we will not be cancelling classes or events for the foreseeable future.”
Yesterday around lunch time, our school nurse advisor contacted us and recommended we cancel classes beginning March 13th – March 30th because there was a suspected community spread in Licking County. Later in the afternoon, Governor Dewine announced a 3 week spring break for all Ohio Schools and our leadership, having already been able to discuss closures, was swift to agree that classes needed to be cancelled for at least the next 2 Thursdays (which would also bring us within the 3 weeks the Governor had ordered for public schools)
Unfortunately, we have been made aware that not only Ohio, but specifically Licking County is suspected of having community spread illness from at least one individual who is currently being tested and quarantined. This significantly changes how co-op will operate.
All co-op classes, field trips, and events are cancelled through the month of March. In addition, we have issued refunds to families who had purchased tickets for upcoming fieldtrips.
We are recommending that families STAY HOME and stay healthy. If you develop symptoms, do NOT go to the hospital or doctor, but rather call them and ask what you should do, they can advise you how to get tested and even the special procedure for going to the hospital in Licking County, if needed.
We are in daily communication with the proper authorities through our School Nurse Consultant and will post updates as we are made aware of them. Please understand that unfortunately, we do not always know the answers, even the professionals are somewhat unclear, so it is best to adopt a cautious “wait and see” approach. Please continue to check our Facebook, Website, and email loop for the most recent updates.
A very good resource for families who are concerned is the hotline that has been set up in Ohio 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.
Here is what we are doing to prepare for a longer break –
We have communicated to our building owner that we will be out of the building for several weeks and that she can turn off the boiler (saves her a little money). We have also confirmed that we can add weeks through the summer, if needed, for special things like the upcoming Annie Jr. Play.
We are following up with MTI to ensure that we can change the dates of the play to a later time, they have been very understanding up to this point.
We have spoken to Cornerstone church, our caterer, and other vendors to ensure that we can shift the auction to a later date if needed – we are looking at the first two weeks in June.
We are looking at the possibility of hosting Spring Hoopla and Graduation at the Conrad building, later in May.
We are advising teachers, especially those in upper level classes, to get familiar with and utilize Google Classroom or other online sources to offer students needed information to complete needed classes. We do have the resources to have online meetings with students. This would only be utilized if we needed to break through April.
We are making plans to host fun, outdoor activities in late April/May so that children can see friends in a safe and fun way.
Large gatherings are not recommended, this would include malls, shopping, restaurants, and even church events. MANY churches offer live stream and online giving – we recommend that you utilize these services to keep your church functioning, but also to keep you and your pastoral staff healthy.
If you need help with homeschooling, please reach out! We are still here to help and able to meet virtually if needed. Keep in mind that many of your neighbors and friends may be struggling with educating their children at home for the first time. We encourage you to reach out and offer support when and where you can safely do so.
Finally, we encourage families to stay home, stay healthy, and to enjoy the freedom you have in homeschooling your children! Over the years homeschooling has moved outside the home more and more. There is nothing wrong with that, but in the busyness some of us “veterans” have noted that there is something lost, a family closeness, a season of treasuring time together that is sometimes overlooked in the busy bustle of our lives. We hope that this time off can be a time of rejuvenation, family togetherness, and a re-discovery of the joy of having home at the center of your homeschooling. We are praying for each of you in this season.
Your ELCC Leadership Team
Free Subscription Services for Homeschooling Families
Updated March 12th, 2020
Educational companies offer subscriptions services for free after several state's Governors order school closings.
Governor Dewine of Ohio has issued an order that all Ohio public, private, and charter schools take a three week "Spring Break" beginning Monday March 16 - April 3. These K-12 school closings come on the heels of nationwide College and University closures as higher education goes digital to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
As students of all ages head home for the extended closures, many companies are pulling together to offer their subscription services FREE OF CHARGE to parents as well as institutions, so that our students don't fall behind in their studies.
These educational companies choosing to step up during a time of crisis is exactly the good news we need right now! On behalf of students, parents, teachers, and administrators, THANK YOU!
Here is a link to the current Google document containing links and information about these wonderful resources, many being offered for free for the first time.
This list has been compiled by "Amazing Educational Resources".
Due to the volume of traffic, we have also created a secondary link, if the first link will not open or is slow to load.
Updated March 11th, 2020
Dear Co-op Families,
As the news reports continued outbreaks of COVID19 and college campuses closing, we would like to assure you that we are speaking with our School Nurse Consultant, Patricia Johnson, to provide guidance from the State of Ohio State Board of School Nurses, the Ohio Department of Health, and the CDC. We are sending this information out of an abundance of caution and because we care deeply about our co-op families.
is co-op doing to prepare for COVID19?
We are having ongoing conversations about what is best for our group and if/when it might be necessary to cancel classes. Ohio is not currently at risk for “community spread” so we will not be cancelling classes or events for the foreseeable future.
We are asking parents to be vigilant with their own children and health. Please DO NOT come to co-op if you or any member of your family is coughing, has a fever, or is experiencing respiratory distress. If they have these symptoms, please seek guidance from a medical professional.
Any family that has travelled to a Level 3 country in the last 30 days (Currently - China, Iran, Italy, South Korea) or who has had contact with a person who has travelled to a Level 3 country, is not permitted to attend co-op and should self-quarantine and consult a medical professional to be cleared to return to co-op.
We are working to sanitize frequently touched surfaces at co-op each morning before co-op starts, and after pantry members have been in the building, out of an abundance of caution.
We are asking everyone to be vigilant about washing hands, especially after bathroom trips and before eating.
We are asking teachers who may serve snacks to ensure that every surface is thoroughly disinfected, and to make sure every student washes/disinfects their hands, before serving snacks.
We are asking teachers to remove toys from preschool/nursery which are porous and therefore difficult to clean and disinfect. We are also asking parents not to bring stuffed animals to co-op.
We are asking Teachers to be diligent in preparing lesson plans which can be shared via the ELCC loop if we would need to cancel classes. This could be making a video of yourself teaching the subject and posting it, links to worksheets and YouTube videos as well. Please be sure to send these through the loop and not on the Facebook page.
If a person who attends co-op would be diagnosed with COVID19, they should immediately, and privately, alert a person in leadership (Amanda Sillin, Coleen Slagle, Keri Sanders, Cammy Brown, Lora Parks, Jenn Huey) If we are alerted to such an illness, co-op classes will be suspended immediately, per the direction of the Ohio Dept of Health, and will not resume until the community is free from the illness and the danger of transmission has passed (up to 28 days)
2. What can I do to prepare for COVID19?
a. Each family is encouraged to plan now for the possibility of an outbreak. This includes making sure medications are stocked, talking to family members about your plans, having 3-7 days of household supplies (food, medicines, personal care) items on hand and making a plan for family members who may be immunocompromised or elderly.
b. Preventative measures, which includes regular handwashing, daily cleaning of surfaces that household members touch frequently (doorknobs, light switches, countertops) and stay home if you are sick, do not go into public, cough into a tissue and only leave home to visit the doctor.
c. If you have a family member who is medically fragile, it is a good idea to begin limiting your outside activities, with cold and flu season it is wise to do this anyhow.
d. Pay attention to travel warnings, do not travel to countries, states, or other localities which are experiencing “community spread” illness, do not take cruises, and avoid large gatherings of people, such as conventions, sporting events, and other events with thousands of people, that might expose you to COVID19.
3. Why are colleges cancelling classes?
Colleges face different challenges than public schools, and vastly different than a once per week co-op.
Colleges, especially large campuses, have a multitude of international students who recently travelled, especially to China because of Chinese new year, and many of whom are just now returning to campus because of the illness.
Some colleges are suspending classes for a very short time (3-5 days) before spring break to give a full 2 week period of no classes in order to allow any new cases to be diagnosed while students are away from classes, preventing the spread of illness.
Some colleges are suspending classes for 1 week or less to test out and troubleshoot their ability to host online teaching sessions in case a longer time of suspended classes is needed.
We hope that you find this information useful and helpful. As we look to God to be our Protector and Healer, we also seek the wisdom to do our part in safeguarding our ELCC community. We know that we can face all things because of the Faithfulness of our Heavenly Father.
Your ELCC Leadership Team
Homeschool Network Celebrates 10 years in Licking County - Newark Advocate
Updated February 2nd, 2020
Excellence in Learning was thrilled to welcome the Newark Advocate to co-op this week and talk about all the ways homeschooling in our community is advancing and thriving! Check out their informative and inspirational article!
Updated May 26th, 2019
Ohio Notification Law Changes
Homeschooling in Ohio is governed by the Ohio Administrative Code(OAC). Because of this, there need not necessarily be any legislative action for the rules to change, the board of Education can simply make changes. Last December in their review (which happens every other year) they decided to change a few key points, something that has not been changed significantly since 1989. This has caused some confusion among parents so we are uploading a file on this page and updating our website to reflect these changes which will go into effect on July 1, 2019 for the 2019-2020 school year. Please note: we are not legal counsel and you should talk to the HSLDA if you have further questions about these changes.
Ohio Administrative Code § 3301-34
The OAC was changed to reflect the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) which states that we must notify our local districts. Local schools often follow the OAC as it amplifies the ORC and they get their funding through the organization modifying the OAC! This is why some districts kept insisting that we send our notifications to the county educational centers and not the superintendent. This has been changed so that the ORC and OAC agree – your notification should ALWAYS go to the local superintendent, not a county board.
Less than Positive Changes:
"3301-34-03 (A) Consistent application of procedures and practices throughout the state by superintendents and parents is essential for children receiving home education and helps to safeguard the primary right of parents to determine the appropriate education for their child(ren).
A parent who elects to provide home education shall supply the following information to the superintendent no later than the first week of the start of the public school building the child would attend in the school district of residence or within one week of the date on which the child begins to reside in the district or within one week from the child’s withdrawal from a school: "
There are three changes to the law in this section and two are fairly significant.
#1 - "no later than the first week of the start of the public school building the child would attend in the school district of residence"
Most parents notified the public schools of their intent to homeschool or sent in their subsequent notification in the beginning of August. This practice was widely accepted but not mandated. It has now become part of the law that we MUST send in our notification by the first day of school. Since many districts have various starting dates and multiple buildings, this change makes parents partially engage with the school to figure out that date and get their notification turned in. I would anticipate districts will add this to their packets and create a “due date” when they want information submitted. Most home education leaders in Ohio are recommending that members send in their notifications during the first week of August which will ensure they are in before the due date but also keep them coming in as a large group rather than tricking in over the summer.
#2 - "or within one week of the date on which the child begins to reside in the district"
This is a completely new portion of the homeschooling law which now requires that you re-notify your new district if you move OR you can ask your old district to forward your original notification. There is an important distinction between the two!
Each time you notify, the district super has the right to ask for more information within 14 days of your notification. If they do not, they MUST issue you an excusal letter. If they ask after the 14 days, you are not required to comply and they MUST issue the excusal letter. When moving mid year, it seems to be a better idea to ask the old district to send the notification to the new district because you have already received your excuse for the current year. The 14 days where questions could be asked has already passed. However, if you re-notify in the new district (meaning that you send in your notification again rather than just asking your old super to forward it) you are resetting that 14 day clock and the new super could ask for more information. This is addressed in subsection F.
If the transfer and request of information occurs during the school year excused by the last district of residence, the forward of information request shall satisfy the notice requirements outlined in paragraphs (A) and (C) and should be honored by the new district of residence for the remainder of that school year. "
One area this does NOT clarify is whether or not the new super will issue you an excusal letter, one would assume so because all of these changes were made under the idea that this would help lessen truancy, so the new super should issue a letter, but it is very likely that they will not know their responsibilities or will not issue these new letters, or will try to require more information. Having the information forwarded from your old district seems the best way, at this time, to avoid conflict and chaos mid year and to make sure you are covered. All correspondence with public schools should be in writing and documents – so send an email or a certified letter.
#3 - "or within one week from the child’s withdrawal from a school"
This is just common sense and most homeschooling parents already did this. If you withdraw your child from school mid year, you need to notify immediately so that they do not send a truancy officer to your home. Again, all correspondence with public schools should be in writing and documents – so send an email or a certified letter.