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Monday, March 16, 2020

Corona "Homeschooling" isn't Homeschooling- My Thoughts as a Veteran Homeschooler- Part 1


Ok, I said I'd keep posting like usual here and not just about coronavirus, because, you know, to be able to have distractions from the ridiculousness that is most people's lives currently, but today something was on my mind and I just need to get it out.

It seems like most people I know have kids home from school now, because of school shut downs from around the world. And it seems to be for an indefinite period of time for now. So many people are talking about homeschooling their kids now, their homeschooling schedule, etc... The word homeschooling is thrown around, people talking about having wanted to homeschool in the past but realizing from this situation that homeschooling isn't for them...

As a veteran homeschooler, who homeschooled all of my kids on and off from birth until the middle of last year (when I was forced to send my son to school because of my divorce proceedings), I have some things to say about this "trend" of talking about homeschooling.

This.

Is.

Not.

Homeschooling.


Not for a million and one reasons.

Don't assume that because what you're doing isn't working for you, that homeschooling sucks. Don't assume that what you're doing now is what homeschoolers have always been doing.

You're not homeschooling.

What's happening is that the world is now in crisis and you're dealing with the side effects, one of which is schools closing down.

You're in crisis. The world is in crisis. And within all that, you're trying to recreate school at home. And its hard. And it can be really, really, really sucky.

When people homeschool, they usually do it after making a choice to do so for various reasons. Maybe they don't like the school options. Maybe they want to try another method of teaching. Maybe they want more hands on learning. Whatever the reason is, its a decision they make, they plan on it, and then they figure out how to implement it. And it generally is made together with the kids. And many people consider homeschooling and then realize that for many reasons, it isn't the best decision for their family, or for that specific kid. That is why I homeschooled my oldest, Lee, until 6th grade, but sent my youngest, Rose, to school from age 3, and Anneliese from kindergarten, and my son Ike from 3rd grade. Because I realized for my mental health, and for the sake of family harmony, I needed my girls out in school and not at home all day. And I realized that Ike and Anneliese needed to be getting their therapies in their special ed classes for autism. And once I was a sole breadwinner single mom, it really was best for Lee to be in school as well.
Homeschooling is a decision you make as a family that learning at home, in a variety of different ways, is the best decision you can make for your child and your family at the time.

Its not that on Thursday they're in school and on Thursday night they're told "That's it, no more school until we let you know." People are shell shocked. People are scared. People are unprepared. And people aren't doing this by choice. Its a decision thrust upon you by outside forces, and that makes all the difference. Your kids aren't prepared for this. You aren't prepared for this. You haven't done the research about how to best educate your kids and decided that homeschooling is right for you. You haven't figured out if this is the right decision for your family at this time, but were told you must do it anyhow.

On top of that, you're probably also dealing with anxiety related to this pandemic. Many people are also dealing with food insecurity, because of stores closing down, shelves being empty, and various other reasons. Many people are dealing with financial insecurity, some people for the first time in their lives. And then there's kids' anxiety and stress about this sudden upheaval to their lives, about coronavirus, worries about whether they'll get sick and die, worried whether or not their friends will get sick and die. And this is probably similar to what many of you are feeling. And that's not factoring in people with pre-existing health issues.

Just dealing with all these emotions are a lot, and many people going through this upheaval emotionally, or dealing with their kids' intense emotions, even if they otherwise would be interested in homeschooling, would probably decide that this isn't the best stage in life to keep their kids outside of school, out of their routine. Or those newly postpartum moms who need to rest and recover after having given birth, but instead have the rest of their kids home, needing to be taken care of full time, and educated. Or parents whose kids with disasbility really need the therapies that they get every day in school, and crave the structure and routine, and parents who need to have a bit of a break from their kids each day so that they have enough mental and emotional energy to parent their kids outside of school hours.

Oh, and homeschooling is not about keeping your kids home all day, having them have school at home, with lessons by mom only, and not seeing anyone out the family. Homeschooling is world schooling. Going on trips with the family. Exploring nature. Exploring museums. Going to places, asking questions, learning from everyone you meet. It is getting together and socializing and playing with people of various ages at different homeschooling get togethers, because when you aren't all day in class with kids only your age, you learn to befriend people of various ages and enjoy socializing with them. Homeschooling heavily relies on seeing the world, but because of businesses being shut down, social distancing, public transportation being affected, and various other reasons, all these people "Corona Homeschooling" are getting none of the benefits.

Add to that the amount of people working from home for the first time, or for the first time with their kids home with them while they're trying to work, and trying to balance that with this new "homeschooling"? Add to that the school requirements of things you're supposed to have your kids do at home?

This is a recipe for disaster.

It sucks. Even as a veteran homeschooler, I'll say that this sucks. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. You basically are getting all the drawbacks of homeschooling (the need to juggle income with educating your children, the lack of a break, the exhaustion) without nearly any of the benefits.

So instead of saying you're homeschooling, call it what it is. Dealing with a crisis in the best way you know how. And if you want to complain about it, if you think it sucks, you have every right to gripe.

But don't think this is what homeschoolers do. Because this is not homeschooling. Homeschooling is easier than this. Homeschooling is very different from this.

However, as a veteran homeschooler, I must say that this is easier for me than some of you, because of my experience with education at home. So my next post is on tips from my experience on how to improve this situation.

Hugs to all of you.

It ain't easy.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this. I have one child who attends public school. This week was his spring break but it’s cold and rainy and everyone is in isolation. No fun. In addition, schools are closed until April. He was sent home with a packet of home but there is plenty more to do online. I am not a teacher (unless school requires body work on a vintage car, so I’m screwed.) Thank you for bringing a bit of calm to the storm that I’m not equipped to deal with.

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  2. this is amazing and so relevant. Thank you!

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  3. I am a teacher, and I want to say thank you for this post. There is an insane amount of pressure on parents to feel like they need to step in and do full schooling at this point, but the teachers aren't expecting that. It's not realistic, and it's not what we're asking of you.

    ReplyDelete

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