Since schools shut down, the Central Montana Organization for the Advancement of Homeschooling (CMOAH) said they’ve seen an increase in parents interested in homeschooling.
CMOAH member Amy Grisak believes that’s due to the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming school year.
“There’s definitely been an up-tick with parents learning how the school year might look this year, and just, none of us know what’s going to happen, so we’re definitely seeing more interest,” Grisak said.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic and school shutdowns, Grisak said at least 500 families were homeschooling in and around Great Falls.
Nationally, there’s a rise in parents considering homeschooling this year as well (source). As parents contemplate the transition to homeschooling this upcoming school year, that number may continue to grow.
With more parents likely turning to homeschooling, they may face questions, including how to begin and how long to continue homeschooling.
“A lot of times when people are stepping into homeschooling, it’s like where do I even start? So we are here to help describe what curriculum is available, co-ops, support groups, and just basically give that whole foundation to people so they can educate their children,” Grisak said.
One of the original members of CMOAH, Coya Williams, said the organization offers plenty of online resources for new homeschoolers.
“People can go onto the Facebook groups and say ‘Ok I'm lost, i don’t know where to start’...and they can get those experiences from other parents because that’s what’s really great,” Williams said.
Williams added that as long as home-schoolers can teach their children to learn, they don’t need to be an educational expert .
“If you can teach your child how to learn and how to look up information, you don't have to be a teacher because there are teachers out there everywhere. I guide my children through what they want to learn, but I don’t know everything about a particular subject, so we find someone who does or we find the curriculum that does,” Williams said.
Choosing to homeschool this year doesn’t mean parents have to bypass public school forever.
“I don’t think you have to do either-or. If you need to pull out for the year out of the public school system, and just get through and follow along what is expected with that grade level, you can sure do that and transition right back in,” Grisak said.
If you’d like to learn more about homeschooling, you can do so on the CMOAH website[cmoah.wordpress.com].