As more and more grandparents are raising grandchildren in this country, a natural question to ask is if grandparents may also homeschool these children. The answer to this question lies in first understanding the legal status of the grandparent in relation to the children, followed by thoroughly researching the homeschool laws of the state. Sources in this area (below) add that there are a number of other factors that should be considered as well.
Grandparents helping homeschooling families
Before answering the question, it is important first to note that there are already many grandparents that participate in helping homeschool families. Just like any other friend or family member may assist with certain aspects of the homeschooling or managing the family or the home, grandparents too may assist homeschoolers by offering anything from academics to child-care and beyond. Families lucky enough to have grandparents nearby may benefit from this relationship in a number of ways, like receiving help with driving children to and from activities, getting help with a child’s schoolwork, or receiving help with some of the household chores. Some grandparents may take on the teaching of individual subjects almost entirely by themselves, like reading to younger children or introducing a foreign language to high schoolers In some areas, grandparents may offer informal chats — even lectures – for larger groups of homeschoolers, telling about experiences or sharing specific talents or hobbies. And though the primary direction will always come from a child’s parent or supervising school entity, grandparents can be wonderfully helpful plus offer knowledge and experience often not available anywhere else.
Many articles have been written about the fulfillment of helping in this way and the special bond that can be formed with grandchildren through homeschooling. (Read just one account HERE)
Grandparents that homeschool
When grandparents have custody, full legal guardianship, or have adopted the children, homeschooling becomes a different matter altogether. Here, the laws of the state will prevail and determine who may homeschool a child in that state. Since homeschooling is legal in all states, it is safe to assume that under many circumstances grandparents may homeschool children, too. However this is a matter where consulting the laws and the appropriate authorities is very important. Speaking to the family attorney, a child services representative, any counselors or case supervisors that may be involved, national homeschool legal organizations, or the local school district may be necessary. If children are being withdrawn from school in order to homeschool, consulting a teacher or principal may be recommended, as well. Overall, since every situation is different, following the advice of a trusted legal advisor is paramount.
Once grandparents receive the green light to homeschool, the literature points to additional factors that grandparents should consider before making a final decision to homeschool a child. A grandparent’s health and ability to continue, whether short- or long-term is important to assess. Any health concerns for the child must also be considered, too, being certain that grandparents have the willingness, ability and resources to care for children with energy levels that may exceed their own, or who have additional needs or challenges.
Financial ability to raise and school a child is important, too. And though homeschooling can occur on a budget, grandparents must have access to any necessary curriculum, materials and outside experiences that will inevitably become necessary down the road. In addition, access to helpful homeschooling resources can be particularly important for grandparents who feel they cannot teach some subjects or do not know what is required to educate a child all the way through graduation.
Finally, the literature reminds that when grandparents start parenting again, with or without homeschooling, external support can be very helpful. There are many parenting and grandparenting organizations which are already operational and ready to assist, plus these number are growing as the number of children raised by grandparents only increases.
There is more to learn about this topic, thus it is important for grandparents thoroughly familiarize themselves with the legalities, benefits and pitfalls of homeschooling grandchildren before moving ahead. Several links are provided below which may be of assistance; however, families are strongly advised to consult the proper authorities and to find the level of support they need before making important educational decisions.
May a Grandmother homeschool? by Ann Zeise
“Grandparents Raising Grandchildren” from USA.gov
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