Since the major outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, schools have been forced to shut down and students have to learn at home.
Parents of these students are now faced with the task of educating them at home.
This sudden shift to emergency homeschooling has been rather overwhelming for most families.
However, a recent poll by RealClear Opinion Research indicates that a surprising number of parents are, in fact, more likely to consider homeschooling or a virtual online school once the lockdowns are over.
In a survey conducted with around 620 parents in the USA, 40.8% of the total said they were more likely to adopt “home schooling, neighborhood homeschool co-op, or virtual schooling once the lockdowns are over.” While 31.1% said they were less likely to do so.
Why do parents prefer homeschooling?
- When it came to moving instruction online, some states and school districts were more prepared than others. Florida, for instance, has invested a lot in online schooling. They have even exported its state-run virtual school to students in other states during the pandemic.
- We see the coronavirus as a long-term crisis that won’t go away any time soon. Hence, parents wish to minimize their kids’ potential exposure to the virus even after the lockdowns end. They don’t think schools are safe. In other words, some parents may see homeschooling as less risky.
How to make the most out of homeschooling?
Let kids be a part of the decision-making
Jamie Heston, a board member of the Homeschool Association of California, said the best way to do this is to have your kids make a list of things they’d like to do and learn. From there, she said, you can whittle down the options as a family.
“There are lots of ways you can have fun and have it be educational, [and] not just be sitting at a table with a book open,” said Heston.
Make a schedule
Most kids work off a schedule in their classrooms, so recreating something similar at home can ease the transition to a different learning environment for the foreseeable future.
Build in recess
All traditional school programs incorporate some sort of recess or outdoor time, and a homeschool schedule should be no different.
Dr. Jessie Voigts, a homeschooler and founder of Wandering Educators, said,
“What new plants are growing? What bugs can you find under decaying logs? Count the tree rings in a downed tree. Reroute a waterway in a little creek. See how the sun moves through the sky. There are so many ways to learn.”
Downtime is your friend
Downtime, or time for kids to work on projects quietly and independently, is just as important as active time outside.
Voigts noted that kids need time to “disconnect” every day — from each other, from parents, from technology and from the outside world.
Other experts agree. Hannah Gauri Ma, a homeschooler and blogger currently living in the United Kingdom, said,
“Kids will react differently to a parent as ‘teacher,’ and they will push back in ways they don’t at school. Allow for the fact that kids will be holding a lot of tension around all these sudden and often stressful changes to their routines and lives.”
In conclusion, Whether the current positive shift of opinion on homeschooling and virtual schooling actually results in more parents choosing these options for the children over the long term—will remain a big unanswered question.