Hendricks County families turning to homeschool seek advice from seasoned homeschool parents
By Lindsay Doty
North Salem resident Ciara Boyer recently decided to homeschool her four daughters ranging in age from 5 to 11. She’s one of a growing number of parents turning to homeschool as districts figure out plans for the classroom in a time of coronavirus.
Even with masks, Boyer said school is too risky for her family.
“We decided to homeschool because the precautionary measures being taken are just too much for little ones,” said Boyer. “We also have an 8-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, and she is neutropenic, so if she was to get COVID-19, it could be potentially deadly for her.”
To prepare her at-home classroom, she has been seeking advice online via message boards and social media chats from seasoned homeschool parents like Madison Bousum, a mother of four from Avon who chose to teach her kids at home three years ago and has not looked back.
“It is something I always wanted to do,” said Bousum, who used to teach preschool. “We had some bullying issues with my son when he was in school, and I just wanted that control.”
In recent weeks, the mom has been flooded with online inquiries from Hendricks County parents considering homeschool because of the pandemic.
“The biggest question I get is, ‘What do I do?’” said Bousum, who started a homeschool co-op this year called Westside Homeschool Friends, connecting homeschool students and parents for outings and resources. It has recently jumped from 60 families to more than 100.
Bousum reminds families considering homeschooling that they must first send a certified letter to their district to withdraw students.
She said families need to set up a learning plan that works for their families. There is no one-size-fits-all. She likes to be flexible.
“Sometimes we take our school with us. I get everyone set up with a three-ring binder so it can go with them outside, to the park or in the backyard,” said Bousum.
Part of her routine includes getting her oldest son (a soon-to-be eighth-grader) his assignments to work independently so she can focus on teaching the younger children.
The mom/teacher said there are plenty of resources out there to help where parents might feel insecure. Bousum touts Math Mammoth and Evan-Moore Science Language Smarts, but she also puts a lot of emphasis on group reading and looking things up in actual books instead of online.
“If we can look it up in a real book, we will,” she said.
Bousum is happy to offer her advice to fellow Hendricks County families but said each family has to do what is best for them.
“It is a big decision,” she said. “It depends on how your child learns.”