One of the best developments coming out of 2020 is the increased interest in homeschooling. After finishing last school year out at home, some families decided to take the plunge and keep doing it. Some school districts choosing to stay virtual in the new school year made that choice easier for those families.
Forced homeschooling is not homeschooling in its truest sense, but many families got a taste of it. Homeschooling is a choice. Homeschooling is a sacrifice of time and treasure. Homeschooling is recognizing that your child’s education is ultimately your responsibility.
When you homeschool and don’t believe your child’s curriculum is suitable, you can change it. If you believe your child is spending too much time online for school, you can take education offline. If you think your child needs more time on a particular subject, you can decide to spend more time on that subject and restructure the day. Don’t like your child’s teacher? Go look in the mirror and have a parent-teacher conference.
You don’t have to worry about your child getting personal instruction time because you provide it.
So what parents are experiencing with school districts going virtual is a taste of homeschooling. Hopefully, it gives them an appreciation for what homeschooling families do.
And perhaps this experience whets their appetite for more, but it is not full-fledged homeschooling.
Also, homeschooling families don’t worry about their child’s socialization. They recognize real-life socialization occurs beyond children of the same age. We look for opportunities to have multi-generational homeschooling (albeit a pandemic makes that more challenging).
One of the biggest challenges with public schools going virtual at home is that many families were not prepared to juggle the work-homeschool balance. Families who homeschool by choice prepare for that. For my family, that meant I sometimes worked two jobs so my wife could focus on homeschooling. We sacrificed.
Homeschooling is not for everybody.
Something that frustrates me the most about people advocating for schools to meet in person is that they often use the same tired anti-homeschooling talking points.
Homeschooling has to be a choice so that your family can take control and structure how you do it in a way that makes sense for your child and for you.
Doing public school virtually at home (or some hybrid of part-time online, part-time in-person, as some school districts in Iowa are doing) doesn’t allow for that.
This is why virtual public school is not working for many families. If your school district will not accommodate in-person learning and have virtual education just for families that want it, perhaps it’s time to homeschool for real.