An Education on Online Schooling

Originally aired on FOX 17 – February 2, 2018

We all want what is best for our children, especially their education.

Many people are choosing to homeschool their children. Is teaching your children at home the best option?

According to the Michigan Department of Education, there’s a total of about 1.5 million K-12 students in Michigan, but only 561 reported home school students.  But, home school students are not required to be registered and industry websites estimate there are over 42,000 home schooled students in Michigan.

Learning at home is attractive for many reasons, from protection from bullying to health-related issues to parents who just feel they know what is best for their child.

Victoria Haveman’s children have learning and physical disabilities, so she decided that she could choose the best course for her children’s education.

“I’m not afraid of an unconventional life, and maybe we’ll try something different for a little bit,” said Haveman. “We’ve always gone year-to-year, so every time around this year, I reassess and figure out, ‘Is this working for all the kids? Is this working for me as a mom? Is it working for our family together?'”

One day a week, her kids visit HSB, Inc. in Wyoming, a resource center for home schooled students that offers basic classes from reading and math to economics and chemistry.

“It’s great to have the option,” explains HSB bookstore manager Ann Marie Tilburt, “especially those high school lab sciences. If it’s not something that I’m comfortable doing at home (…) I do have a resource where they can come and take a class and get that lab experience. That is a little tricky at home. It is still possible, but easier if they’re in a lab setting.”

Parents who feel they can’t teach certain subjects at home can also turn for assistance to online teachers from places like the Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy. It is free for all students.

Home schooled students still have to have school 180 days a year, but the reporting of grades to the Michigan Department of Education is voluntary until high school. Parents are not required to be certified to teach in the state of Michigan.

The Grand Rapids Public Schools tell FOX 17 that they “support a parent’s right to choose their educational opportunities, including homeschooling. GRPS welcomes opportunities to partner with homeschool families and ensure they are aware of all the programs, services and school choices offered by the district.”

To learn more about Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy visit http://mglva.k12.com.

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