Parent teaching child
Michael Q. McShane

Given the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming school year, tens of thousands of families around the country are considering homeschooling for the upcoming year. EdChoice’s monthly public opinion tracker poll (which surveys a nationally representative sample of Americans) found that 25 percent of school parents are “much more favorable” to homeschooling and 37 percent are “somewhat more favorable” to homeschooling as a result of the coronavirus. In Nebraska, homeschool filings are up 21%.

For Missouri families that might be considering homeschooling, I’d like to share a couple of potentially useful resources.

First, and perhaps most important, is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). HSLDA offers lots of resources on its website, including a state-by-state guide of laws and regulations related to homeschooling. For families worried about running afoul of the law, they can join HSLDA for $130 a year and get access to legal advice and protection as well as a host of other homeschooling resources.

Second, there is Khan Academy. Started as a series of YouTube videos Sal Khan created to tutor his nieces and nephews, Khan Academy has grown into a huge free online repository of lessons and projects for students. It has really stepped up during the coronavirus, creating a fully articulated school schedule for students with all the lessons and supplemental videos and articles necessary to complete it. Again, this is all available for free.

Third, Study Island by Edmentum offers a full self-paced online curriculum for students aligned to state standards. For those families thinking that homeschooling will be temporary and that their children will return to their traditional public school next year, keeping up with state requirements is important. Study Island provides its service for around $180 per student per year (though they do offer a free trial for folks looking to check it out). It is not free like Khan Academy, but is plug-and-play and standards-aligned, two key features that parents under pressure might think are worth the cost.

The fourth resource is Carol Topp, the Homeschool CPA. “Pandemic pods” are cropping up as a popular option for families to link together and share resources as they homeschool for the upcoming year. How can families set one up and potentially hire a teacher or set of tutors without running afoul of non-profit or employment law? This is where a knowledgeable CPA can help. Even for those who are homeschooling independently, tax questions can frequently arise. Her website has lots of free content, and she also offers one-on-one consulting services to help families navigate the homeschool landscape.

If you’re thinking seriously about homeschooling in Missouri this year, you are not alone. There are lots of families in the same boat, and lots of resources out there to help.

If you know of any other resources, particularly Missouri-based ones, please feel free to share them in the comments below.

 

About the Author

Michael McShane
Senior Fellow of Education Policy

Mike McShane is Senior Fellow of Education Policy for the Show-Me Institute. He is a former high school teacher and earned his PhD in Education Policy at the University of Arkansas. Before coming to the Show-Me Institute, Mike worked at the American Enterprise Institute as a research fellow.