Summary List Placement
Homeschooling rates in the US are soaring as schools remain closed due to the pandemic, and parents worry about their children getting exposed at schools that have reopened.
For many affluent families, that’s translated into investing upwards of $100,000 on “pandemic pods,” small cohorts of similarly-aged children who learn and socialize together.
But families who are new to homeschooling can also develop competitive and rewarding programs for their children without spending much money at all, homeschool experts say.
“Homeschooling can be done almost for free if parents are willing to get creative and do the leg work,” Jenn Sutherland Miller, a homeschool consultant who “worldschooled” her four children through high school, told Insider. “Pod schooling does not have to be ridiculously expensive and it doesn’t necessarily require the hiring of a designated teacher.”
Homeschooling parents can invest ‘sweat equity’ instead of money
To sidestep steep costs, some families have formed, or joined, homeschooling cooperatives, which require parents and caregivers to contribute in some way, but not necessarily monetarily. In some co-ops, parent members invest “sweat equity,” which means contributing a talent or service, to secure their child’s spot in the program.
Parents might alternate educating the children in the various subjects they’re experts in. If a parent isn’t suited for traditional teaching, they could offer childcare, lead an extracurricular activity, or offer another valuable in-person service, Sutherland Miller said.
“Working together is often more affordable than going it alone,” Sutherland Miller added.
When it comes to deciding where to allocate funds, Sutherland Miller recommends parents invest in the areas in which they are most weak. A parent who struggles with math, for example, should spend more on math tutors and resources.
To expand their teaching network in a cost-effective way, homeschooling parents often leverage their personal connections, Sutherland Miller said.
Parents might recruit retired grandparents to read books to children, teach an academic class, or a new skill in person or remotely. Friends and family members with intriguing jobs and expertise may volunteer to teach regularly, serve as an occasional guest or, assuming it’s safe, have the children shadow their work.
Parents can save ample funds by recruiting friends and relatives to teach
Sutherland Miller advises every homeschooling parent to “make a list” of anyone in their life who has knowledge to impart and to inquire about their interest in getting involved. “You won’t know until you ask,” Sutherland Miller said.
That list should also include veteran homeschoolers, Sutherland Miller said. Homeschoolers with years of experience can offer advice and share resources, which includes curriculums and textbooks.
“Often, [homeschooling] parents spend a bundle out of fear of getting it wrong,” Sutherland Miller said. “I would encourage parents to assess their goals for the year, and over the long haul, for their students, take stock of what is available to them already, within their communities, and then invest their funds judiciously.”
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Source:: Business Insider