The popularity of homeschooling in the U.S. has grown considerably. From the movement’s unofficial beginning in the 1970s to its impact during and after the COVID pandemic, homeschooling is now a staple of the K-12 educational system. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that homeschooling grew from 2.8 percent of all students in 2019 to 5.4 percent in 2021.
Homeschooling is unique to each of our 50 states. In Ohio, parents must notify the superintendent of their local school district of their intention to homeschool, agree to provide 900 hours of instruction per year and provide an assessment of each student’s work for the year. But Michigan parents are not required to notify their local school district of their intention to homeschool. Both states require parents to offer reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing and English grammar.
Just the basics
Developing a curriculum can appear daunting, but help is available at every turn. The departments of education in Ohio and Michigan can help develop curricula for students of every age. But there are other groups (paid and free) that can help you plan your curriculum. For example:
- Join local pages on social media to connect with others who are homeschooling in the area and can help answer the localized questions you might have. Check out The Homeschool Mom for Ohio homeschools; Facebook Homeschoolers in NW Ohio and SE Michigan; Instagram pages on homeschooling ideas, books, organizers, etc.; online curriculum assistance programs such as Time4Learning.
- Make Toledo Lucas County Public Library a regular resource for curriculum and activities. – With just a library card, create a personal and local curriculum to help kids succeed. Check your local branch for activities you can incorporate throughout the year.
Customizing the kids’ education
An important part of a homeschool program is to broaden kids’ education beyond the home, while giving them opportunities to socialize with friends. Parents should create programs that:
- Meet the specific learning style and pace of each child
- Are flexible to the schedules of students (you can take in a local activity in the morning, and then do online or textbook training in the afternoon)
- Build stronger parent-child relationships
Cater your classes to the things your kids respond to and enjoy – and bring a local perspective to it. If you’re teaching a science class, apply it to characteristics of local flowers each season with trips to the Toledo Botanical Garden. Studying the Great Lakes? Visit the National Museum of the Great Lakes to see the ships common on the different lakes (or visit their Kids Club). Studying outdoor art? Visit Toledo’s murals, including the Glass City River Wall in downtown Toledo, the largest in the U.S.
Several local organizations offer programming for homeschoolers:
- Imagination Station offers monthly (fee) workshops (for grades K-3 and 4-8) in all things science.
- Study animals at the Toledo Zoo, with fee programs through the school year in animal habitats such as rainforests, deserts and oceans. Classes are for students 5-15 years old.
- Monthly fee programs are offered at Metroparks Toledo for homeschool students. Learn about nature, weather, fossils and other elements of earth, with a project at the end. Or participate in outdoor adventure camps at many park locations.
- Camp Navigator can identify many regional camps to schedule for your kids.
- Put together a specialized art program at the Toledo Museum of Art using virtual or guided tours, art classes (fee) and the family center.
- Plan a field trip to a fee performance of the 2023-2024 Toledo Symphony or Toledo Ballet Young People’s Season.
As you investigate items for your curriculum, remember to check websites and social media posts by various links, look for recommendations, compare with friends or call directly to check on details.