Safely Back to School: More families turn to homeschooling

Posted at 1:08 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 06:00:03-04

INDIANAPOLIS — More and more Indiana families are turning to homeschool amid the pandemic.

As thousands of kids start school — some in-person, some virtually — one Indiana mom is taking on the role of teacher for her child.

The Indiana Association of Home Educators is a great resource for families looking to home school. And since the pandemic, the organization has received an influx of parents looking for more information. WRTV spoke to one mom who has used multiple tools to rise to the challenge.

Instead of Liz Boltz Ranfeld's 10-year-old and 6-year-old returning to the classrooms this year, they will be at the kitchen table, sitting in bed, or in the backyard.

For now, Ranfeld is homeschooling her daughter, who is in fifth grade, while opting for virtual learning for her son through his school district. The choice for their family to so some type of distance learning was an easy one.

"My husband has several pretty serious chronic respiratory diseases, and we knew that we could not send them back into the school setting," Ranfeld said.

The family is using a mixture of strategies for her daughter's curriculum, including workbooks, activities, and "Out School," an online platform for virtual classes.

"Some of them have homework, some of them don't. Some of them are one-time classes that are an art project or talking about a history lesson, others are ongoing classes that you take after we can do writing or homework," Ranfeld explained.

Ranfeld says she doesn't plan to homeschool forever, but for now, it's right for their family. "It makes us feel safer because we know that we are limiting not just our exposure to COVID, but specifically my husband's exposure, he would have very severe health implications if he were to get sick," she said.

She also feels since she is now working from home and has the ability to homeschool, the choice is also hopeful to keeping others safe.

"I do think that by keeping them home and keeping them out of the classroom, we're helping to reduce the number of students who need to be in the classroom," Ranfeld said. "That's one fewer kid that's crowding the room in terms of making distancing difficult."

Ranfeld says homeschooling is a challenge, and she recommends if you are thinking of taking it on, even temporarily, that you seek out resources. There are many like Out School and Facebook groups where you can get advice from those who are experienced.