As schools across the country begin reopening in various formats, parents are scrambling to again make sense of how it will all come together. Some parents may see the move to reopen as one that carries risk.
For those parents feeling uneasy, there are a lot of options out there. In fact, many options are free or funded by scholarships. Here are 5 quick things you may not have known about educational options in Arizona:
- You can switch to homeschooling at ANY time.
Homeschooling laws allow you and your kids to transition out of public schools and into a homeschool, microschool, or learning pod environment whenever you see fit.
- Switching isn’t permanent… at all.
Think homeschooling is right for COVID, but only for COVID? Fine. Despite what may feel like a decision set in stone, switching to homeschool isn’t permanent. You can head back to public schools at will, when and if you deem it right for your family.
- You can apply for the ESA funds throughout the year.
In some states there are scholarships available for nontraditional education. As an example, in Arizona, you can apply for the Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) year – round. Arizona families who have a child with a 504 or IEP plan are just a few of the categories of parents who may qualify for an ESA. This scholarship can be used to pay for private school tuition, therapists, tutors, curriculum and more!
- Many homeschool and microschools avoid “teaching to the test,” focusing on more individualized learning
Most national polling shows parents are frustrated by the onerous standardized testing in schools. The tests rank and sort students based on a narrowly defined vision of what success looks like . Many parents choose the option of homeschooling if they feel it better suits their child’s learning needs over a more traditional education model. Families can decide to homeschool at any time simply by filing an affidavit with their local county school superintendent.
- Learning pods are an alternative approach to in-person teaching
Learning pods describe communities where smaller groups of students gather to learn from parents or educators. In some states, like Arizona, tuition-tax-credit scholarships and Empowerment scholarships may be available to some learning pods and microschools, while others partner with local charter schools and are offered tuition-free. The funding can be a bit complicated and may require some expert help. Luckily there are many folks offering just such a service (see below).
You have choices. With the right information and a little help, you can find your kid’s custom-fit education! There are dozens of organizations dedicated to helping parents wade through the choices, the funding, and the implications of each path. The form on this page will connect you with an expert from one of those groups. They’ll walk you through your options and work with you to find the right-fit school for you and your family.