The world feels a little crazy right now. Schools are closed and people are being told to stay home. Many parents are juggling working from home while helping their kids complete school work. Some parents continue to work as essential employees, while others are not working at all. In the midst of all the confusion, the quality of our children’s education has come into question. Not the education from conventional schools, but a parent’s effort at homeschooling.
A few weeks ago, an article came out that flew through the homeschooling community. The title was what caught everyone’s attention, Homeschooling during the coronavirus will set back a generation of children. I read the article and thought the writer was clearly unaware of the benefits of homeschooling. I felt it was a poorly written opinion addressing the writers expected failure of learning from home during the pandemic. It referred to a shortened school year as a summer slide period and targeted a specific group by stating, “And the kids who suffer most from the “summer slide” are the low-income students, the ones already struggling to keep up.”
Who knew income was an indicator of one’s intelligence!?! The writer failed to cite any source to back up this statement. The remainder of the article addressed the concern of the effects of a shortened school year, the effect of absenteeism on students grades, and the need for fall testing to measure intellectual loss. The entire article was about students attending institutional style schools. It had nothing to do with homeschooling.
I concluded the article was poorly put together and had intended to ignore it. Despite the title suggesting homeschooling will set a child back, it was directed at conventional schools.
Recently a new article began to circulate the homeschooling social media channels, and I could no longer remain silent. Apparently there are concerns, published in Harvard Magazine, over the Risks of Homeschooling. The article suggests homeschooling isolates children and even potentially exposes them to abuse. Seriously?!? Because a child is homeschooled their parents are abusive?? The article proposed the majority of homeschooling families wish to promote female subservience and white supremacy. It went on to state it was dangerous for parents to have 24/7 authoritarian control over their children.
Basically, the article is about removing parental rights. That is all that would explain the writers’ concerns as to why homeschooling would have risk. After all, we wouldn’t want parents to have any kind of influence over their own children. God forbid we teach them moral character, to question anything, or speak out against injustice. I refuse to even respond to the disgusting claim regarding female subservience or white supremacy. Honestly, was the online stats down and annoying someone would generate traffic?!?
My snarky mood aside, I know being at home with kids full time is hard work. Stay at home moms have been devalued for years. In the current situation, to say pandemic schooling is homeschooling is like saying this quarantine is a tropical vacation. Families that have been homeschooling for years are living in the same crazy quarantined world that you are, and just like you, we are not okay with it.
Since the quarantine period began I’ve received a few comments from well-intended friends and family. It started innocently with an email or text message asking for suggestions about homeschooling. It ended with a comment on how lucky I am that my life probably hasn’t changed much.
Clearly, there are some inaccurate assumptions about homeschooling. Let me clear up the two biggest misconceptions. We do not lock ourselves and our children in our homes to avoid society, and we do not homeschool because we are religious fanatics.
As a society, we have accepted that the only way to properly educate a child is to send them to a conventional public or quality private school. We hold the image that school is a room with neatly lined up desks. The seats are filled with well-behaved children and being lead by a specially trained teacher. Please, set this image aside for a moment as it is not homeschooling.
For my family, and many others, homeschooling is a lifestyle. It is taking responsibility to teach and train our children. We purchase quality curricula designed for educating our children in a home environment. We are constantly teaching and helping them grow. Every activity of each day holds lessons and opportunities for growth. We read books together while snuggling on the couch. We go on nature walks and study the world around us. Our kids complete assignments at the kitchen table, on the floor, or on a blanket outside. Some of us go to weekly co-ops and share classes with other homeschooling families. We take our kids on field trips, get them involved in community service, and so much more.
Nobody is more invested in a child’s education than their parents. A nurturing home environment with real-life experience is the best choice for my family. It may not be the right choice for your family, and I respect that.
Across the United States, schools are closed and kids are learning from home. Many classroom teachers are working hard to virtually keep their students engaged and learning. This can be called crisis schooling or pandemic schooling, but it is not the same as homeschooling.
If you have concerns or questions regarding homeschooling:
HSLDA offers some interesting Academic Statistics on Homeschooling, including findings related to race and finances.
National Home Education Research Institute has provided a list of researched facts and statistics related to homeschooling.
photo credit: focusonmore.com Doctor in protective clothing showing blackboard with School Closed message via photopin (license)
photo credit: bratislavskysamospravnykraj Homeschooling a Deň učiteľov via photopin (license)