From the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom, October 1, 2021: “After implementing first-in-the-nation school masking and staff vaccination measures, California becomes the first state to announce plans to require student vaccinations – adding the COVID-19 vaccine to list of vaccinations required for school, such as the vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella. Students will be required to be vaccinated for in-person learning starting the term following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span (7-12 and K-6).”
With that statement, thousands of parents of students in public and private schools in California were sent into various states of anger, confusion, helplessness, euphoria, defiance–just about every emotion across the spectrum. While many families applauded the decision, feeling it goes a long way toward ensuring the well-being and safety of students and staff, others pushed back on the mandate, citing violation of parents’ freedom to choose what’s best for their child and fear of the unknown possible negative effects of the vaccine. The reactions to California’s mandate encapsulates the political tension that currently grips our country.
But, regardless of political leanings, many parents are standing at a crossroads when it comes to where and how their child is educated–do I go ahead and send my kids to public and private schools, or do I take matters into my own hands? Not surprisingly, more and more families are opting for the latter.
As a parent, your responsibility is to do what you feel is right and best for your child. If you feel this involves vaccinating your kids and sending them to school with masks on, that is your undeniable right as an American citizen. If you are opposed to vaccinating your child or simply aren’t ready to do so yet, that is also your right. And while it’s entirely understandable that families may be frustrated that the right to send their child to a public school (for which they pay taxes) or a private school (for which they pay a substantial tuition) has been compromised, there are options out there that offer a proof-positive better education outcome for your student.
Should you homeschool your child? Find out by taking our quiz!
Homeschooling May Be the Solution
Thousands of Californians opposing the state mandate already began the process of removing children from their in-person schools. If you think that’s the right path for your family, here is the initial step you need to take as a first-time homeschooler in California:
File an annual private school affidavit with the California Superintendent of Public Instruction as soon as possible. The form can be found here. California is considered a pretty homeschool-friendly state; you can find their laws and regulations here.
Now you’re free to start exploring homeschool options that work best for your family. There are “6 Musts” to consider when researching homeschools:
- Is the homeschool full service? (teachers, curriculum types, edtech platforms, accreditation, etc.)
- Can the schooling be customized to meet your child’s needs?
- Are there academic advisors and teaching tools available to support the parent?
- Do they offer both online and textbook and/or a blend?
- Are there classes that are live or recorded for flexibility?
- Do they go all the way through all the grades?
Of course, given that this decision is a basis for providing the best possible education for your child, then you may want to go through the more comprehensive Choosing a Homeschool Checklist to help you think through all that would benefit you, your child, and your family as a whole.
Start to think differently about what education means to you and plan for your new family lifestyle accordingly. You can combine lessons with real-life experiences, like going to a local lake to catch a tadpole in order to demonstrate metamorphosis as the tadpole grows into a frog. Then have your student show compassion by setting the grown frog free again. Organization, planning, and homeschool tools will become your close friends. Ultimately, you’ll be living whatever life you dream up to help educate your child in the best way that fits them.
How to Homeschool Your Child
Homeschooling comes in many shapes and sizes–it doesn’t have to be the traditional “parent teaching child” format, though many who are able to accommodate that option truly love doing it. There are actually quite a few ways to homeschool; it just may take some time and a little bit of trial and error to find the one that suits your child best.
Learn how one Bridgeway mom manages a full-time job while homeschooling. Read her story here!
The good news is homeschooling accommodates any of the above situations–and then some. For example, Bridgeway Academy offers both a fully accredited homeschool academy, which provides transcripts and records that schools may request in order to comply with California’s homeschooling laws, as well as independent programs that families can implement on their own. No matter which path you choose, you can be confident knowing it will lead to an excellent homeschool experience and education.
- For students who prefer a classroom environment that allows for plenty of independent work throughout the week, our Live Online Classes are a perfect option. These classes meet weekly and are led by a teacher in a virtual classroom where your child can interact with students from across the globe. The teachers provide feedback and grading, making this option appealing for parents who work and need dedicated time to their jobs during the week while their kids are busy learning.
- If you’re interested in taking full control of your elementary school student’s education, our Grade Level Kits are perfect. Each kit is designed around your child’s specific learning style (which is determined once your student has taken our Learning Style Assessment), with a specific kit made for each different learning style. These kits include everything you need for a full year of homeschooling, including the best hands-on curriculum, instructor guides, activities that keep kids moving and exploring, and online connections.
- If a standard school day simply isn’t in the cards due to schedule or work conflicts, Self-Paced Online courses are a great option. Each Self-Paced Online class is pre-recorded, so kids can jump on at any time and complete their daily lessons, graded by teachers. This program offers the perfect combination of instant, computer-generated feedback and teacher feedback.
- For those who prefer hands-on learning, we also offer a textbook program as well as a blended program that provides a combination of textbook and online learning.
- If you prefer the independent route, Bridgeway offers a separate Records and Support package, which provides the necessary accreditation, transcripts, and other records that your school district may need.
Whatever your viewpoint is on the current state of vaccines and schooling in California, the fact remains that you have good education alternatives from which to choose. There’s no true right or wrong choice because this is really all about you and your family.
Either way, Bridgeway Academy is here to help families achieve their goal of providing their child with the best education possible. Call us today at (800) 863-1474 to speak to one of our homeschooling experts and learn more about all the doors that homeschooling opens.