With millions of children in the U.S staying home this school year and trying to find their way through the chaos of adjusting to homeschooling, many parents are wondering how long this will go on. Even more important, will education ever look the same after all of this? It is no secret that people are wanting everything to go back to normal, however, with strict social distancing measures in place, “normal” seems like a thing of the past. This tragedy has caused parents to seriously examine the alternative, non-traditional forms of education that are available to them; attempting to find one that fits their child best. With so many parents working remotely for the first time and realizing the freedom and flexibility it provides them, some are interested in extending this privilege to their children as well.
Here are a few education models that parents are considering for remote learning:
Micro schools are essentially smaller and less institutionalized learning spaces. You will typically find these in homes or in organizations throughout the community. There will be less than 20 students and they range from Kindergarten to 12th grade. These schools are hybrid schools which means the students are on record as homeschoolers, but they also participate in micro schooling on either a full or part-time basis. Here, they will be able to socialize with educators and mentors. Some micro-schools are operating through charter school programs to provide access to those families who don’t have the means to participate. These models are expected to grow very quickly in popularity since parents are desperately searching for a learning environment that will allow their children to be social and get to work in small groups, so they are not overlooked. Micro-schools work well in cohesion with homeschooling.
Many parents are growing to like homeschooling during these difficult times and are even considering forgoing traditional schooling moving forward. Homeschooling hasn’t always been a well-respected learning option, however, given the opportunity to try it out during COVID has led to many parents realizing that they prefer this education model for their children. The strict social distancing measures in place by schools have been enough to deter some parents from re-enrolling their children for another school year. They are concerned not only for the health of their child but also the idea of students having to wear masks all day and other protocols. Many parents are left thinking that their child would be much safer and more comfortable at home since in-person learning seems daunting right now.
Forest schools are outdoor learning programs that were popular even pre-pandemic. According to the New York Times, “nature-based preschools have seen a tidal wave of interest in recent years.” The goal of these schools is to make outdoor time a priority. Children thrive when given the freedom to explore and experience nature through natural play. Forest schools have small classes so that the children each receive plenty of attention. The teachers affiliated with these schools are committed to facilitating a learning environment where students are free to seek out what interests them. Children can learn anywhere and getting outside in the fresh air is the perfect way to engage their brains.