Families with working parents struggle to find safe new ways to make sure their children get an education at home. Online homeschooling can help, but can you do it without your parents? There’s a lot to unpack with this issue thanks to modern school technology, but you can do online school without parental supervision. Depending on the situation and type of online school you attend, parents don’t need to become educators for their home learners. Traditional homeschool is when parents are directly responsible for educating their child and overseeing the process from records to attendance and grading. However, online schools employ qualified teachers for students. Technically online homeschool is attending school remotely and not quite the same as being a homeschool student. Regardless of the semantics, I will walk you through getting a student into an online school where the parents are not the teachers.
Can I do online homeschooling without parents? Students can attend an accredited online homeschool without parents doing a teacher’s job. However, parents must consent and sign up their children just as they would for any school. Tuition and any materials are also the parents’ responsibility. In some ways, you always need your parents, but learning at home is possible without becoming a traditional homeschool student.
Online Homeschool Vs. Using the Internet as Part of Homeschool
When parents choose to homeschool their children, they are solely responsible for creating, collecting, distributing, overseeing, recording, and grading work. For some parents, this includes using online resources within the traditional homeschool setting, but online ‘homeschool’ is a different issue entirely. Since homeschool is the parents’ (or guardians) legal right to educate their own children, it typically has different rules and standards than enrolling in an institution.
Homeschool is wonderful, but it’s not the only way to learn from the safety of home. The term homeschool is now being widely used to cover all education in the home. The wording convolutes the issue and can confuse parents about their responsibilities.
It’s important to understand what laws apply to public and private schools in your area. Online homeschool can be a great way to remove the need for hands-on parent teaching. When parents register their home learners with an accredited online school, all the paperwork and records become the school’s responsibility, and any laws specific to parent-led homeschool cease to apply. In this scenario, a remote or work-from-home parent can do their job all day while a teacher in an online school handles education. Additionally, the teacher grades the work, decides who passes or fails, keeps the records and attendance, and otherwise conducts themselves very similarly to the way they would in a classroom.
There are also online schools that have a more open format. Teachers may be available for conferences as needed, but the actual classes can be prefabricated and available online twenty-four-seven for easier scheduling. So long as the teacher is responsible for grading and records, this is still an online home learning style homeschool. The rules and laws that apply are those for a school and not a parent-led homeschool.
Private Virtual Teachers and Tutors
Although not all states allow it, many places also give parents the right to homeschool by hiring certified teachers and tutors for full-time learning. Students can have a tutor for one or two subjects with parents responsible for oversight in a traditional homeschool. However, in areas where this form of online (and in-person) education is legal, students are still under homeschool laws when parents hire full-time individual teachers.
The difference is that parents are still responsible for overseeing homeschool teachers in this scenario. Even if the paid assistant grades work, they don’t keep the records in the same manner as a school must. Hiring a teacher is another way to educate a child without parents as primary educators.
For families who want to retain the parental oversight and rights of parent-led homeschool but also need a virtual educator, there are numerous resources. This is a form of true ‘online homeschool.’ I recommend the following three sites to find high-quality educators.
- Upwork is a virtual job and resume posting website. There is a dedicated subsection of this site where families can find highly-skilled and degreed educators for as little as eight dollars per hour. You will be pleasantly surprised by the incredible variety of ready and willing educators available here for students of all ages.
- Care.com has homeschool teachers and tutors in addition to its nanny and babysitting services. Families with infants and toddlers can find someone to keep an eye on their babies, but homeschool aged children can also connect with the teachers they need.
- Hey, Tutor is another high-quality resource that is geared toward connecting families and educators.
Find A High-Quality Online Homeschool
There are three main considerations when Parents are looking for an online homeschool. Firstly, the cost is a major concern for some families. Secondly, the curriculum should be examined closely. Finally, school reputation and accreditation are vital.
Free online schools exist for students in need, but the materials needed and tuition costs, if applicable, can vary significantly. It’s always wise to check carefully before considering a school. Once you’ve chosen institutions you can afford, it’s crucial to look at the curriculum.
Some schools offer freedom to attend class at will, and others have set hours. Likewise, some schools offer additional ‘extra’ options and features, religious courses of study, and more elective type studies while others cover the minimum. Finally, make sure you check the history of the school you’ve selected. Look for any famous alumni, schools that have been around for years, and of course, the accreditation.
I recommend Seton Home Study School for K-12 students whose parents want them to attend a Catholic-based school. The programs are outstanding, and it is easy to work with the instructors and administration.
For secular middle and high school students, the prestigious American School of Correspondence is a superb option. According to their website, “American School was the first correspondence school to receive accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)—listed as a regional accrediting body by the U.S. Department of Education.”
For older students, one of the most well known and trusted schools that offers an extremely customizable course of study is Citizens Online High School. Established in nineteen eighty-one, this school is about to celebrate its third decade. You’ll be impressed with the variety and simplicity of enrolling.
Distance Learning Homeschool Through Your District
The Covid19 pandemic has changed many things, not the least of which is how we view school. Parents can ‘homeschool’ their children by signing up for distance learning online with most school districts. Since the cooler months have seen a massive uptick in Covid infection and death rates in the US, many schools are becoming virtual-only until the situation is under control. Sadly that means these opportunities may dry up once an appropriate solution is found.
For parents who want their kids ‘in school,’ with the same teachers and student body as they would have during a normal school year, distance learning is ideal. If you are already signed up for a local school, and they become virtual, then you may not have a choice. Otherwise, it’s best to call your district or school and inquire how they register students for distance learning. Some areas may not offer it, but most do.
The good news about this option is that it’s the least disruptive to traditional schoolers. With other students from the class and a familiar teacher on the screen, it’s easier to imagine you’re in your classroom, but with the benefits and comforts of home. Better still, a parent doesn’t need to be present for distance learning.
Any child who lives in a state where the law indicates a minimum age for being home alone will need an adult in the house. It doesn’t have to be a parent or guardian. Please be aware that leaving any child alone excessively can constitute neglect and make sure someone is in the home taking responsibility for home learners. This includes older children who may technically be allowed to spend more time in the house alone.
There are more options available to families than ever before. Homeschool doesn’t have to be a headache, and parents don’t need to quit their jobs for students to learn safely at home. Online homeschools or virtual teachers are both superb options for home education.
Twenty years ago, virtual education was all but impossible. Luckily, times have changed. Though a few states allow non-parents to teach homeschoolers, those are few and far between. Even ten years ago, it would have been much harder to find a way to school at home without parents, and those who were raised as homeschoolers themselves may not know how many technological advances there have been since they graduated.
Parents, or guardians, still have to sign students up, and they’re responsible for making sure their children meet attendance requirements. Going to school at home without parent-educators was once a fantasy. Still, now, for students old enough to be left alone legally, you can literally attend online school at home without the need for parents.