CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A significant increase has been reported by the Ohio Department of Education in the number of parents considering homeschooling this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jaclyn Clay has been homeschooling her three kids for years.
“It has its ups and downs just the way life does,” she said.
Her husband is in the military, and their family just got settled in North Royalton.
But, she already knows the drill when it comes to homeschooling in Ohio.
Her family’s actually lived in the state before. She home schooled her kids here for four years beginning in 2012.
Data from the state shows the number of homeschooled students in Ohio has gone up each year since then.
Last school year, upwards of 32,000 kids were learning from home.
There’s no data yet on how many families intend to homeschool this year, but there’s almost no doubt the number will be even higher than last year’s.
The state’s Department of Education office is receiving an average of 12 emails a day requesting information on how to go about homeschooling, a spokesperson said.
That’s a “significant increase” from past years, they said.
In Ohio, you do not need approval to home school your child.
As long as you have a high school education, you can opt to do it.
You just need to notify your district's superintendent of your choice by the first week of the school year.
“He would basically just send me a letter back just saying OK,” Clay said.
Parents are completely responsible for choosing a curriculum for their child.
But, be aware, the state does not give financial assistance to purchase a curriculum.
“I‘ve learned that I have three kids and they all three learn three different ways,” Clay said.
By electing to homeschool, parents agree to provide at least 900 hours of instruction this year.
They will have to provide an assessment of the student’s work next spring.
“You have different options when it comes to that as well,” Clay said. “You can test your child at the end of the school year, or you can put a portfolio of your child’s work throughout the school year and it can be reviewed by a certified teacher.”
Clay has some words of encouragement for those who decide to commit.
“Enjoy the season you’re in,” she said. “I know that can sound absurd sometimes, especially in times of such uncertainty, but just take a step back, take a deep breathe and know that in the end it’s all going to be OK. Enjoy the season you are in, and stay flexible.”
If you are already homeschooling, it is important that you continue to notify your district of your intentions each year.