Schools all over the country are finalizing back-to-school plans. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some parents are opting to homeschool their children. Many are parents who, under normal circumstances, would never consider homeschooling. However, they are concerned about their children’s potential exposure to the virus. Other parents are bothered by the social distancing requirements being put in place by many schools like having to wear a mask all day, for example.
On a positive note, research shows low infection rates for children. There is also new information out of Germany (schools have been reopened for several weeks here) that indicates low infection rates for young people in general. Despite these encouraging signs, many parents are still exploring alternative schooling options.
Here are some tips and other things to consider for parents weighing alternative options for this upcoming school year:
1.) What Are the Requirements in Your State?
Some schools are taking into account the stress that many families are under and demonstrating their flexibility either by allowing remote learning or just cutting in-person attendance in half. This is an attractive option for many parents, and they may decide to stick with their school on a part-time basis. Other parents may take their child’s education into their own hands entirely. If a parent decides to sever ties with their school district, they should make sure to follow the regulations specific to their state. Most states require documentation with state or local officials as an “independent homeschooler.” Homeschooling parents must follow their state’s regulations.
2.) Set Your Goals
For some parents, homeschooling is only temporary, and they wish to place their children back in school when the pandemic lets up. For temporary homeschoolers a basic curriculum would be the best fit, one that contains only the essentials. Other parents might decide to mix a basic curriculum with other learning sources and helpful tools. Perhaps there are even parents who want to distance their child from the strict and structured school mindset altogether and instead let the child lead the lesson and select what they wish to study.
It can be tough to work from home for an extended period of time, especially if you aren’t accustomed to this lifestyle. Balancing this with homeschooling can be quite the feat, which is why it is imperative that parents create an organized and well thought out system. The goal is to simply create an environment that is conducive to healthy learning, no need to overstress. Parents can take some of the weight off of their shoulders by reaching out to other parents, their neighbors, and nannies for help. Having a system, and reliable people within that system will make the school year much less stressful.
4.) What Is Available to You?
If you asked them about their experience, homeschooling parents would probably say that the pandemic has caused quite the disturbance in their routine. It’s been very difficult for people to be separated from their loved ones and favorite places to go. Homeschooled children often gravitate toward the outdoors. Whether it’s hanging out with friends, mentors, going on a field trip, or joining a club, homeschooling allows for plenty of outdoor time. However, in our current state, many of these resources won’t be available. If they are, there will be social distancing rules enforced. Parents should look into what is available in their area for their children to get involved in. There are plenty of Facebook groups dedicated solely to this topic.
Enjoy this time with your children, use it as an opportunity to bond. Watch their curiosity and creativity grow! Don’t feel pressure to perfectly mimic a regular school environment. Learning and a typical school environment are not mutually exclusive, children can learn in any setting.