Homeschooling Options during COVID-19

Let’s face it, COVID-19 is changing education as we know it. The first 18 years of your child’s life are what shapes them into the person they will become. Education is constantly evolving and this pandemic has sparked a shift in how parents choose to educate their children. So, the big question is: What are some of the available options? ConnectPrep is here to explain and some of those options to you. 


In-person hybrid school model: 

  • The curriculum is provided by the school
  • Classes and assignments are conducted both in-person and at home
    • There is a relatively even split between remote and in-person learning
  • Option 1: 
    • In-class time can be used for assessments, individual instruction, group discussions, counseling/mental health appointments, and hands-on activities such as science labs
    • Out-of-class time can be used for viewing lecture videos, completing problem sets, and general studying. Video calls or other technology is used to facilitate teamwork and collaboration amongst students while not in the classroom
  • Option 2
    • In-class time can used for core subjects: Language arts, social studies, mathematics, and science
    • Out-of class time can be used for electives, physical education, and health class
  • Instructors are normal teachers from student’s school, NOT hired privately by parents
  • In-person lessons are taught to smaller class sizes with students sitting socially distanced throughout the classroom, following COVID-19 safety guidelines
    • Instructors can remain at the front of the room behind a clear protective barrier
  • Preserves social aspect of schooling while minimizing contact between students 
  • Multiple groups of students alternate between in-person and online classes throughout the week in order to limit exposure amongst students 
  • In some instances, students remain in a single classroom while only the instructor switches rooms to teach new material
  • Students have access to all essential resources which were previously available to them
    • Food/lunch for the day
    • Counseling services
    • Special education services
    • Supervision during parent’s work day
    • Technology (computers, printers, WiFi, etc.)
  • Risk of contracting COVID-19 via in-person classes

Online public school:

  • Curriculum is provided by the school
    • Syllabus is divided into modules or lessons which contain text information as well as supplemental videos
    • Students work through course content and answer short, quick questions to reinforce learning
    • Quizzes are assigned at the end of modules to assess a student’s progress and ability to move on
  • Classes and assignments are conducted at home via Zoom or other online services
    • Students may complete assignments and watch lecture videos independently while meeting online regularly with peers for group discussions, live lessons, exams, etc.
  • Lessons are taught to groups of students, with individual help made available on a case-by-case basis
    • Students must seek out help and schedule meetings individually
  • Instructors must be certified by the state
    • Instructors are not as involved as in other methods of teaching because large amounts of instruction is provided via online modules
  • Education is tailored to learning styles of group of students, academically and schedule-wise
  • Interaction with peers is limited to computer contact
    • Students are expected to spend many hours per day in front of a computer screen
  • Assessments such as tests, quizzes, or exams may take place in person with a proctor or online, depending on the school
  • Schools are required to provide counseling services for all students as well as special education services for students who require it
    • Individuals With Disabilities Education Act requires that these schools provide special educations services, but many schools don’t have clear policies on how this is done
  • Inconvenient for parents who work during the day while students are home or at a library studying. Parents will likely need to assist students occasionally to supplement instruction from their normal, adult instructor
  • No risk of contracting COVID-19

Traditional homeschooling:

  • Curriculum is provided by parents/guardians and approved by state
    • Must cover material involving reading & writing, spelling & grammar, mathematics, and social studies (U.S. history and government) 
  • Classes and assignments are conducted at home
  • State standardized tests are not required, but can be useful for parent/guardian to assess the progress of their student(s)
  • Instructors/parents can be certified by the state, depending on the requirements with each state
    • Instructors must have a high school diploma, G.E.D. certificate, sufficient standardized test scores, or other qualifying credentials 
  • Lessons are taught individually or to small group of students, allowing for personalized help at any given time
    • Can be a one-on-one environment or a small group of peers
  • Education is tailored to learning style of the individual/small group of students
  • Interaction with peers can be very limited or nonexistent
    • Online groups exist which help connect families and students who use homeschooling. These groups provide a social aspect as well as a network of members who offer advice and resources
  • Difficult for parents to work because they are needed to help students with both schoolwork and homework assignments
  • Minimal risk of contracting COVID-19, depending on number of students involved and safety practices being followed

Pod learning (1:1 or 2-6 students): 

  • Curriculum is often provided by the school, but it does not have to be
  • Curriculum and instructors available for students in grades K-12
  • Students learn in-person in groups of 2-6 usually
    • Small groups allow for frequent, individual help and a learning environment/pace which suits the needs of all students
  • Classes and assignments are conducted in a designated study area
    • Study area is usually the home of a student in the pod, but can rotate between homes or locations
  • Instructors do not have to be certified by the state, but often are
  • Instructors can be sourced in a variety of ways
    • Parents of students in pod can hire private instructors
    • Parents of students in pod can teach classes themselves, or share the job amongst multiple parents
    • Schools can provide instructor or hire a private instructor for students 
  • Lessons are taught to groups of 2-6 students, with help made available at any given time
  • Grades levels can be the same or mixed
  • Lessons cover core subjects such as language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies
    • Enrichments/electives such as dance, theater, photography, etc. are also provided to teach teamwork, responsibility, and leadership and to provide students with a more robust and complete education
  • Classes are scheduled according to availability of students and instructors
    • Optimal for parents who work because classes can be scheduled during the work day where supervision will be provided
  • Benefits of in-person instruction with smaller classroom sizes
  • Safer than traditional, in-person classes due to reduced number of students 
  • Minimal risk of contracting COVID-19



ACT Essay


ACT Reading

New SAT Reading

Connor Barth

IT Team
Connor is a senior Electrical Computer Engineering student at the University of Rochester. He is currently employed as a IT Consultant at the Simon Business School. His main interests include computer technology and wireless communications. As the son of a college professor Connor not only enjoys the benefits of an engaged educational experience, but also understands the importance of learning and finding the correct educational environment. Connor looks forward to using his skills, passion and experience to help the ConnectPrep team succeed.

Yiyuan Wu

Data Analyst Team
I graduated from University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics. I have tutored Algebra and Calculus I for undergraduate students throughout my undergraduate years. I am currently studying statistics at Rutgers University. I have a deep passion for education and believe that my mathematical and statistical skills can help improve the quality of education greatly.

Sam Callis

Social Media Team
Sam is a junior at the University of Rochester studying History with a minor in English literature. He has a deep passion for education and hopes to work in the field for the rest of his life.

Borja Rojo

Development Team
Borja Rojo is an Electrical and Computer Engineer at the University of Rochester, ’17, and also studies Computer Science and Audio Engineering. He has a passion for starting projects from the ground up and becomes inspired from reverse-engineering many kinds of systems. Now, he is helping design a portable ultrasound system to help with medical imaging on-the-go. Apart from his academics, you might see him designing a video game or recording his latest song. Here at ConnectPrep, he will be working on creating a web-based platform that automatically generates questions for students to study with and practice their skills.

Philip Fenimore

Development Team
Philip is an undergraduate at the University of Rochester studying Computer and Electrical Engineering. He enjoys realizing ideas through coding, like creating a 3d interactive environment with C# and modeling complex mathematical systems with Matlab. Philip is excited to work for ConnectPrep, using his set of skills to maximum effect on the data analytics team.

David Giannella

Development Team
David is attending the University of Rochester, pursuing a BS in Physics and Astronomy as well as a minor in Computer Science. He has gained knowledge of a number of programming topics including application development, data structures, and rendering. David is eager to use his programming skills to help ConnectPrep vault onto the web.

Matt Dombroski

Development Team
Matthew currently attends the University of Rochester studying for a degree in Computer and Electrical Engineering. He loves to design and build anything that catches his interest, from using only digital logic chips to construct a calculator or verilog code to design and test a CPU. He has also lead one week long science camps for the past two years, teaching young kids the basics of chemistry, physics, and electricity. Matthew is excited to put his talents and interests to use in helping implement the data analytics and graphics engines for ConnectPrep.

Jon Aho

Development Team
Jon is a Electrical and Computer Engineering student at the University of Rochester. He’s been coding for nearly 7 years, and has a number of comprehensive software and hardware projects under his belt. Currently employed as a Research Fellow at his university, he also works at implementing the ConnectPrep Analytics website.

Jon Aho

Development Team
Jon is a Electrical and Computer Engineering student at the University of Rochester. He’s been coding for nearly 7 years, and has a number of comprehensive software and hardware projects under his belt. Currently employed as a Research Fellow at his university, he also works at implementing the ConnectPrep Analytics website.

Deanna Thompson

Data Analyst Team

Deanna recently graduated from the University of Rochester with a BS in chemical engineering and legal studies minor. During her time as an undergraduate, she served as a writing tutor, speaking tutor, trained prospective tutors, and eventually served as the tutoring group’s president. Deanna is excited to work for ConnectPrep, continue to assist the tutoring process, and use her engineering background to help develop ConnectPrep’s analytic programs.

Jason Altabet

Analytics and Social Media Team

Jason has always had a thirst for education, whether it be for himself or for others. He is currently training to be a public speaking tutor for his university colleagues and, in addition, plays a central role on the Committee for Political Engagement, where he works to educate the student body on all matters political. At ConnectPrep he serves as the point man for social media, but when he gets the chance likes to try his hand at everything from analytics programming to web development. In his spare time you can expect to find him practicing fake law as a member of his school’s mock trial team, promoting class council initiatives, or working on his soccer “skills.” Jason currently attends the University of Rochester, majoring in Economics and Political Science.

Scott Luntz

IT Team
Scott is a senior at Purdue University studying Cybersecurity.He works with the IT team and has a passion for Internet security and threat detection. His goal is to use his knowledge in information technology to improve vulnerability analysis and fix any potential cyber issue before it becomes a problem.

Michelle Fine

Director of Operations
Michelle spent several years of her career in the fashion industry, learning about emerging trends in marketing and various aspects of planning a wholesale business. Michelle has had several opportunities to work directly with students, and her most recent transition into the field of education was inspired by her devotion to investing in the future of our youth and the fulfillment she experiences in this pursuit. She is eager to bring her experience and skill set to ConnectPrep to help all students reach new heights. Michelle graduated from the University of Florida with honors.

Kevin Bretthauer

Kevin is the co-founder of Connect Prep, specializing in technology and online services. Kevin is an Oregon native and Stanford University graduate. He has years of experience working in sales and marketing in the petroleum industry and has managed projects involving the promotion of bio-fuels and emissions reducing products. When he’s not working, Kevin enjoys playing golf, traveling, and watching college football. He has a passion for education as well as creating interactive educational software that will be able help more students reach their educational goals.

Jeremy Fine


Jeremy is our education guru. He has years of experience working as an educator with students of all ages, using cutting-edge academic and test-prep curricula to take learning to a new level. He has helped students score in the top percentiles on SAT’s, ACT’s, and receive top marks in many academic subjects. He brings a wealth of knowledge to our company, with a dynamic vision for innovation and market growth. Jeremy earned a BA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MPA from the University of Pittsburgh.

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