New to Homeschooling? Libertarians are Here to Help!
Given the difficulties associated with the Covid-19 Pandemic, New Jersey parents have been unexpectedly thrust into the role of homeschool teachers. While this is a daunting, if not terrifying prospect for many parents we at the New Jersey Libertarian Party want to provide you with information and tips for how to make it through the next few months. The Libertarian Party and all of its state affiliates have championed alternative school methods, like home schooling, since the founding of our movement. We’ve learned a few things along the way while supporting alternative schooling and are offering our assistance to our fellow New Jersians as our state navigates this shift to schooling from home.
What we have done is looked for some tips from those of us who have actually experienced Home Schooling firsthand. We also collected useful tips for you from folks who successfully homeschool, and dug up various online resources to aid you. We also contacted Liam Lieberman, an independent business owner, film instructor and FEE alumni. Liam grew up in a homeschool environment and was able to give some suggestions to parents who are now dealing with this transition. Hopefully these resources prove useful.
Please note that due to the nature of this shut-down there are many questions that need to be answered, such as what each district has implemented. Please make sure that you reach out to your child’s Board of Education, to their school and (if possible) to their teachers. We encourage you to reach out to your local school district’s Board of Education, school and teachers to get answers to additional questions you may have and to structure your home educational plan around the curriculum, utilizing the online resources they have also provided.
The New Jersey Libertarian Party stands ready to assist all fellow New Jersians as they deal with this unprecedented crisis and to share any resources that will ensure the educational success of all of our children.
Pennsylvania Homeschool Complex meetings regularly occur in Harrisburg. These meetings offer a wide variety of resources for homeschool parents, including materials, lesson plans and virtual field trips. Some of it is free to use. While this focuses primarily on PA students, many of the materials have universal use.
This website has specific information for New Jersey homeschooling parents. This includes legal information, documentation, resources, etc. Of special interest are New Jersey approved lesson plans.
A resource and assistance site for and by New Jersey Homeschool families and allies.
An online learning recourse that caters to K-12 education. On their website they offer homeschooling resources, along with information for parents and children to help them understand and embrace home learning. Of particular value is a post about online educational sources for new homeschoolers.
K12.com offers free primary school education digitally. They have different resources and instructors based on which state you live in, who are themselves state-certified.These classes are full-time offerings as well, unlike some platforms which have more of an a-la-carte setup.
This non-profit organization offers personalized instructors in many subjects in the k-12 field. These sessions are one-on-one and they have a pay-what-you-can model for those who are financially challenged.
Known for their fantastic TedTalk series, TedEd is an educational resource offering instructional videos in a wide variety of different subjects. While you're at it, watch some Ted Talks as a family.
These are but a fraction of the wonderful resources available to aid you in instructing your child.
Homeschooling Advice from a Homeschool Student- In Conversation with Liam Lieberman:
Upon Gov. Murphy announced the school closure order we reached out to our friend Liam Liberman, Liam is a Fee alumni, independent business owner and filmmaker. We asked him some questions concerning his time being homeschooled and asked for any pointers or advice he had for everyone entering into this realm. Here were his suggestions...
- Check with the various townships to determine whether or not there is a district plan for the curriculum, or if there were pre-established home-schooling requirements.
- Try and learn more about your child in this time (study and talk) to determine what might interest them in terms of education.
- Liam got started in film making because of this. Your child’s future career might be found in a similar manner.
- Exposure: Try to expose your kids to as many kinds of studies and experiences as possible.
- Allows your child to help direct the lessons in ways that might yield greater educational gains. If you expose your child to different movies and resources they may develop an interest in learning about the topics the film explores.
- There are numerous online lesson course videos. Usually very cheap and can teach both academic and practical skills.
- Try to remember when you were in school and think about what interested you. Try to use those interests to get your child invested.
- Check out the book A Different Kind of Teacher, by John Taylor Gatto. It’s a collection of different essays and speeches concerning teaching.
- John Taylor Gatto: Taught in NYC and State schools (80s through 90s). Quit after winning best student in NY award.
- Consider exploring homeschooling co-ops.
- Liam went to a home-school co-op, where he and his family met with other families for group teaching. Perhaps try collaborating with other families, via Zoom, to do shared lesson plans. All this can be done for free with conference websites like Zoom or Google Collaborate. This could also help with easing the burden of teaching and to seek out other parents who might be better at X and Y subject.
- You could hire student teachers and tutors (finances willing) for things that you don’t feel confident about (lots of bored teachers right now).
- Avoid the myth of the well-rounded student.
- No student is well-rounded. Whether home-schooled or public schooling, students will have sequence gaps, but they won’t harm your child. Missing information can always be reacquired. Focus more on teaching and learning skills and methods, rather than sweating about a student not having a particular standardized test question.
- Humans are not standardized. We all specialize in different ways. Central-planning (in all of its forms) cannot account your individual difference.
- Focus on and encourage their strengths when possible.
- Consider this an opportunity.
- Our school system originates in the old Prussian system that was designed to prepare young men to be disciplined soldiers. America developed it into good factory laborers. Treat this as a way to make your child more worldly and more interested in learning and experience. Save them from being merely capable of reiterating information.
- Focus on fundamentals and talents. When the schools return (and they will return) they can fill them in on the info.
- This is a fantastic opportunity to build a stronger relationship.
- School and work eats up countless hours of our time. We often don't allocate enough time to experience things together.
- Watch some instructional videos together and use it for projects. Further, anything might be seen as an educational tool. Cooking utilizes math. Show your kids that. Use floor planning and design for geometry. Caring for plants is a lab experience for biology.
- Try encouraging project-based learning.
- Watch the documentary Most-Likely to Succeed by Greg Whitely, prod. TedDintersmith.
- Centers on a film-maker’s daughter and looking at different teaching methods. Examines collaborative and project based learning that emphasizes interdisciplinary teaching.
- Schools globally have moved to project-based learning. Helps to encourage success and learning.
- You can also try theme-based learning. Structure the lesson plan around particular themes (say WW2) and do all the math, science and history lessons pertaining to that theme.
- Kids naturally want to learn, what they don’t like being taught.
- We often run into issues when teaching kids because we try to make them learn. Let your child direct things. Let them seek out their interests and try to see what can be learned from it. This quarantine is a great way to facilitate encouraging your child’s own educational curiosity.
- Don’t be worried about making a mistake.
- Seek the advice of other homeschoolers.
- You likely know someone from homeschools. Facebook likely has group pages, etc. People have been doing this for decades. Look to them for advice if you feel overwhelmed. We have second plus generation homeschoolers now. I’m sure they have lots of advice.
- Consider it like “rob-and-deploy”: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Ask someone how they did it and copy it.
Liam Lieberman is an independent film-maker with his company PennwoodPictures.Com
He is also partnered with the Shelter Institute (onlinecourses.shelterinstitude.com) They have
instructional videos on timber-framing. Liam was a first generation home-schooler. His parents and their friends were all originally from the traditional school system. He is now a small business owner.
Written by William Sihr ( VP Programs for the NJLP and Professional College Instructor) under the authorization of the NJLP.
Edited by Eve Brownstein (NJLP Treasurer).