By Marilyn Green
Among the educational alternatives offered by Moorpark Unified School District is homeschooling.
The district offers this option, which is designed to meet the unique needs of each participating family, to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Together with parents, we create an environment where students can explore their interests, develop their unique strengths and talents, and become confident, life-long learners.
How the program works
Students and their parents meet with a credentialed teacher on a weekly basis (monthly appointments are also available) to collaboratively plan lessons and activities. The school district provides families with state-approved, district-adopted curriculum and materials. Then, the parent teaches the student throughout the week using the schedule and pace best suited to the individual child and family.
Students in the homeschool program are expected to meet the same grade level standards they would encounter in a classroom setting and teachers evaluate student work. Attendance is granted based on successful completion of work assignments.
Determining if homeschooling is right for you
Every family and every student are different and the decision about whether to homeschool should be made thoughtfully and with input from all members of the family. Some of the questions to consider when making the decision include the following:
Can you commit the time? We expect students to put in an average of four to six hours per day learning, reading, computing, thinking, discussing and writing. Planning and reviewing student work will require additional time for parents, depending on how much individual attention their child needs.
Is your student on a different timeline than others? Homeschooling offers flexibility to students who either need an accelerated curriculum or those who may need a little more time with some subjects. It offers a way for you to meet the needs of a child who is highly distractible or who needs more time with some topics or parents can accelerate instruction when needed and allow time for students to delve into areas of study they would like to pursue in more depth.
Does travel or commitment to practicing a specific sport make it difficult for my student to attend school regularly or complete all homework? If yes, homeschooling may offer your student the flexibility he or she needs to travel with parents or put in 10 hours a day training in gymnastics while keeping up with schoolwork.
Can we afford it? While the district will provide all the materials and books needed, at least one adult in the family will need to be home to provide instruction, supervision and interaction for the homeschooled student. This usually means that one parent will not be able to hold a full-time job.
Can I really teach fifth grade math? It is only natural to wonder if you are really up to the challenge. The important thing to know is that you don’t have to know everything to be an effective homeschool parent, but you do need to learn to ask for and know where to get help. Our Moorpark teachers, enrichment day teachers, homeschool math tutor, other parents, books, the public library, blogs and websites will provide you support, input, advice and encouragement.
And what if things don’t work out? All students have an absolute right to return to the classroom whenever you request it. We try to make sure that a return to the classroom is as seamless as possible and that students are successful in either option.
Students have access to library, computers, programs, field trips and special activities at school sites. Our program also offers families a weekly Enrichment Day. Students come to school one day a week to participate with other homeschooled students in small, cross-grade level classes including hands-on science, music and dance, art, Spanish, physical education, journalism and math tutorials. Monthly field trips and park days allow time for students and families to socialize and network with other homeschooling families.
Our expert and caring teachers are credentialed, with an average of 10 years experience in the homeschooling program. They are skilled at working with students with special needs as well as gifted students needing an accelerated program. They share a passionate commitment to their students and the homeschooling program.
For information about homeschooling or independent study in grades nine to 12, call Marilyn Green, Moorpark Unified School District, at 805-531-6420.
Marilyn Green is the director of grants, assessment and special projects for the Moorpark Unified School District.