What parents need to know if they want to homeschool their kids

SPOKANE, Wash. — Not every parent wants their children to learn virtually this fall. Some have decided to take matters into their own hands by homeschooling.

Jericka Duvall plans to homeschool her children for the first time this fall. She’s a single mother juggling three kids, a sick dad and a job.

Soon, though, she’s going to add a little bit more to her plate by teaching her kids herself. She didn’t want to go with Spokane Public Schools remote learning option.

“To try to get them to follow any kind of a structure, like they kind of have to be, they have to march to the beat of their own drum,” she said of her two grade-school kids.

That’s why she feels homeschooling will be a little easier than the structured schedule with a school district. It’ll be easier for her to teach her kids on her own time while working, too.

Teaching kids at home rather than through the school district isn’t as easy as just doing it, though. There are different laws parents do need to follow.

A structured school day is not one of those rules.

“There are all these different ways to go about it, and you can even mix and match between these different ways. What that looks like for individual families is all over the map,” said Jen Garrison Stuber, the advocacy chair with Washington Homeschool Organization.

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Parents who are thinking about homeschooling their kids will have to file a Declaration of Intent to homeschool to their local school district by September 15.

Parents are also required to teach their kids 11 different subjects.

To keep track of progress, the state requires homeschool students to take an annual test. If students aren’t learning, the law then says parents will have to “make a good faith effort to remedy any deficiency.”

Duvall says when they get started with homeschooling soon, she’s afraid. Garrison Stuber says that is normal.

“If you have that fear in you, then you’re probably on the right track, and you’re going to do great homeschooling,” she said.

At least, Duvall says she has others around her to help.

“I have a couple friends who’ve done homeschooling, so I think [I’ll be] surrounding myself with support and people who do know what to do,” she said.

For parents who plan to homeschool, or are thinking about it, the Spokane County Library District will be holding a program with Garrison Stuber to walk through the process. That will be on September 10. More information and how to register can be found here.

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