Homeschooling the Masses
Homeschooling is a very popular word right now. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, schools have been forced to shut down, resulting in students working from home. Suddenly, my news feed is full of parents talking about homeschooling their children, and part of me wants to shake my head.
I do not want to minimalize the struggles that parents who have been forced to school at home face. They are real. Very real. I chose to homeschool my children. These parents haven’t made this choice; it was made for them. I can’t imagine how they must feel. They are also dealing with the added stresses of job loss and quarantine conditions. It is a very scary, very stressful time for our nation.
However, none of us are really homeschooling right now. Homeschooling involves giving your kids experiences. Experiences such as museums, zoos, aquariums, and other activities that none of us can partake in. Without these experiences, we are merely doing school at home. While children are learning the book work, they are lacking in the social and real-life experiences they are used to.
One benefit that public schools are getting right now is that they are being given the work they need to complete. They are not responsible for finding or planning their curriculum, like traditional homeschoolers. There isn’t a financial obligation to these families either. There are other varying ways in which the two methods differ.
The one thing that rings true for all of us, regardless if we are a traditional homeschool family or a family schooling from home, is that we all want our children to receive the best possible education that they can. We want our children to succeed, and suddenly we as traditional homeschoolers have the potential to be leaders.
The decision to homeschool isn’t always a popular decision. We are often met with questions, and in some case are even ridiculed. However, as seemingly “pros” in educating children at home, we are being asked advice. People are looking to us for answers, and we are in a position to truly help. I have seen homeschooling friends share schedule and organizational ideas, art lessons, read alouds, and free resources.
We are being given the opportunity to work together to ensure that all children succeed. Right now, it doesn’t matter how you are choosing to school your children; we are all in the same boat. We are limited on what we can do, and it will take each other to get through it.
What effects will this mass schooling at home bring? There is no way to be sure. Hopefully, it will bring about some much needed changes in homeschooling laws. For example, in my home state of Kentucky, we are required to homeschool for 1062 hours. That does not seem like a lot, at first glance. However, in order to be finished in the traditional 177 days, you must homeschool for 6 hours a day. Again, that does not seem like a lot, but when you consider you are working with a very small number of children, it does not take long to work through all the required subjects in a day. Honestly, there have been days that my children have been finished with all SEVEN subjects in three hours. (Let me add that the workload is always extremely rigorous).
I have the unique perspective of being a former public-school teacher turned homeschool teacher. In a public-school classroom, when working with a class of about 24 students, it takes much longer to get through lessons. You have interruptions and short attention spans to contend with. One student might finish early, whereas it might have taken several students longer to finish. Yet, you cannot move on until all children are ready. As a homeschool teacher, when my daughter finishes her math, she can move on to another subject without waiting for her brothers. There is no wasted time. Yet, she must school for 6 hours a day in order to have a schedule like that of the public school. If we only did 3 or 4 hour days, which is what it takes to finish all the work scheduled for 7 subjects, they would have to work for 266-354 days a year.
Why do I bring this up? Well, students who are being schooled at home are being sent work that may be finished quickly. In fact, I have seen many people post on social media that it should only take about three hours for students to complete their work each day. Yet, those children are being given credit for an entire day of school. Many traditional homeschool families are arguing that this isn’t fair.
Another change that our current situation may bring about is that homeschool parents may receive more respect. I have had several friends message me and ask how I do it every day. They praise me for being able to homeschool. I think the many hats we wear are becoming more apparent to others.
Right now, we are all just trying to survive. We are trying to maintain order in a situation where everyone’s routines are disrupted. By working together, we can assure that our children, all our children, will be successful. Through faith, hope, and love, we will get through this.
Joanna Yates – I am a 36 year old mom of 3 beautiful children. My husband and I adopted our 3 children from foster care. We live in Kentucky, but live to vacation anywhere with a beach. I taught public school for 12 years before stopping to homeschool my children. I am a Christian.