As the school year presses on and parents juggle all that 2020 has thrown at them, many are finding their children floundering. Virtual learning or a “hybrid” model of schooling isn’t working for everyone. While teachers are no doubt doing the best they can within the school system, in many cases, their education is suffering greatly.
Rather than wait for the government to make a change in its policies or for the school district to change its strategy, parents should remember that they always have the option to homeschool. Homeschooling is not simply an option at the beginning of the school year or between semesters or seasons, but at any time, at the parents’ discretion.
If you’ve been thinking of taking the leap to bring your children home, there has never been a better year to give it a try.
First-time homeschoolers tend to get caught up in comparing their children’s progress to that of their school-aged peers—a habit that veteran homeschoolers learn to happily let go. It’s only natural, of course. If you’re worried that your children will “fall behind” if you homeschool, realize that the bar (sadly) has been lowered this year. Students, especially those in elementary school who thrive on playing and in-person instruction, likely won’t progress at the same rate they would have if school were fully in session. What’s more, if you give homeschooling a solid chance, you’ll likely find that your children learn astoundingly more than they would ever have in school and in significantly less time.
Homeschooling seems like a scary prospect to many parents—it’s going against the grain and taking on a huge responsibility. They feel unfit to teach, unprepared to give up their personal freedom and unable to ensure that they won’t totally mess up their kids. It’s not for the faint of heart.
But perhaps you’ve been thinking that your children need better than what they’re receiving, and that it may even be fun to step out on this adventure together. Let me reassure you. I know how magical homeschool can be; it’s only as difficult as you choose to make it, and you may someday look back on it as the best parenting decision you’ve ever made.
There are many resources to inform and inspire your decision.
Borrow some books from the library. I recommend starting with Julie Bogart’s “The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life” and Sarah Mackenzie’s “The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections With Your Kids.”
Do an internet search for popular methods of teaching at home, like Charlotte Mason, classical education, and unschooling. Homeschooling expert Pam Barnhill put together a helpful list of methods (PamBarnhill.com/guide-to-homeschool-methods/) featuring these and more, along with links and resources for further research.
Search Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram for examples of homeschooling families living the homeschooling life. A few of my favorite homeschool hashtags are: #hyggehomeschool, #poetryteatime, #readaloudfamily, and #natureschooling.
For an extra boost of confidence and perspective, think about school for a minute or two. Consider the famous TED talk by the late Sir Ken Robinson, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”; the TEDx talk by marketing expert Seth Godin, “Stop Stealing Dreams”; any of the eye-opening talks by New York City and State Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto (YouTube.com/user/JohnTaylorGatto); and an Epoch Times “American Thought Leaders” interview with education expert Alex Newman (bit.ly/3kxoi2n).
Ask yourself what you want for your children and your family, and if homeschooling might just be a better way for your children to learn new things, build upon their strengths, explore their interests, tighten family bonds, and enjoy their days.