Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) sent out a bulletin on April 6, telling public school families (correctly) that the school’s online learning platform would not be available to any family who withdraws and homeschools their child. Yikes!

Should you worry?

I looked at the AACPS website trying to find some answers: what program or curriculum does AACPS use for middle school math and social studies? I searched every nook and cranny—even the FAQs—and couldn’t find an answer. Then it came to me: it doesn’t matter what program or curriculum it is, if the student has no choice! Whatever program AACPS offers for every subject and grade level, there is only one of them, take it or leave it. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just what your child needs and maybe it’s not. But whatever it is, there is only one.

We would chafe at a comparable lack of options in most other areas of life. If a restaurant only offered one dish, if there were only one house you could choose, if there were only one type of clothing you could wear, if the hardware store only offered one type of hammer, if you could only use one doctor, we would say “this is nuts! I need options!”

This is an area where homeschooling excels. With a few deft clicks of my well-trained mouse, I found 47 middle school math programs available for homeschool kids! And—be still my beating heart!—there are people who analyze and compare the programs (here’s one example) so parents can make a well-informed decision.

I checked out of math when my 11th grade public school teacher put something like this on the board: “secant over cotangent equals sin over cosecant.” I still have no idea what that means—maybe nothing!—but it haunts my dreams. With a math-weak brain like mine, I was fated to become a lawyer. But there might have been a math program that would have saved me from drowning, metaphorically speaking.

And since apples fall near the tree (that’s physics, not math), I have a child who struggled a bit. We bought a highly-recommended program. It produced only one unhappy child. But this experience gave us a better idea of the style of math that would engage the child.

We bought another one. Eureka! The child was happy, and healthy forward progress resumed. When all the dust settled, said child scored high enough on the PSAT test to earn a generous college scholarship.

But what if there had been no options for said child? What if said child consequently remained in a math program that produced only confusion and hopelessness? It’s not a happy thought.

If the one and only program that AACPS offers in all subject areas are all equally perfect for your child, then maybe losing access is something to consider seriously.

On the other hand, with at least 47 homeschool math programs available, there is sure to be one that will fit your child’s needs and learning style, as well or better than the AACPS program might. And I have not even scratched the surface of the wealth of programs available to homeschool kids for English, social studies, science, and other areas.

This is the world of homeschooling: flexibility, options, and choices, rather than shoehorning all children into one single program that can’t be right for everyone.

Come join us. Get to know your child. Get to know yourself.

Life is too short to allow a child to suffer through a program that doesn’t fit.


Photo credit: iStock.