After two years of a global pandemic, I think we all had high hopes that this would be over by now. Yet, the number of active COVID cases are the highest they’ve ever been. Many parents are completely frustrated with the educational uncertainties that come with school closures and remote learning. Because COVID cases are breaking record highs, school closures are causing parents to consider homeschooling as an option in order to give their child some form of stability with their education.
COVID Cases are Breaking Record Highs, School Closures are causing Parents to Consider Homeschooling.
COVID cases have drastically increased in both Canada and the United States in the last two months. Currently in the United States there are 19,885,128 active COVID cases. (Statistics found on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/). Canada has a current COVID case count of 402,237 active cases. (Statistics found on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/). Due to the drastic increase in COVID cases, many schools in North America have had no choice but to close their doors.
As a result, many parents are now feeling pressured to make momentous decisions about their children’s education. Continue with the instability of school closures and remote learning? Or remove their child from the education system and homeschool them? It’s not an easy decision to make, many parents are struggling with anxiety around how to homeschool and where to begin.
Should you homeschool or continue with education roulette?
If reading the question “Should you homeschool?” gives you instant dread, and you think, ‘nope that’s not for me!’ then homeschooling might not be your first or best choice. However, if you’re basing your ideas of homeschooling off of a bad venture with online learning, then you truly do not know what homeschooling is actually like. Homeschooling and online/remote learning are vastly different forms of home education. If you still think that homeschooling is a terrible option, and aren’t interested, then let’s review some other forms of learning aids to help you with remote learning temporarily (we will have more on that below, in issue 10).
Reasons to homeschool.
There are many amazing benefits of homeschooling. Some of which include:
- Educational freedom
- Schedule flexibility
- Learning Stability
- A safe learning space for your child
- More one-on-one time
- Relief from the ever changing educational system
- High quality education opportunities
- Interest-led learning opportunities
- Unique education options for unique learners
- The chance to learn with your child
These are just ten of many, many benefits of homeschooling. As school closures are causing parents to consider homeschooling, it’s important to gain all the facts before you dive into it.
Disadvantages of homeschooling.
While I’d love to just paint all rainbows and unicorns around homeschooling, it’s important to give you the facts on both sides. Homeschooling can be so amazing, giving your child flexibility and freedom with their education, along with stability and a safe space to learn. But, there are some disadvantages to note:
- Homeschooling requires more organization
- Not as many ‘educational’ events to look forward to
- Homeschooling curriculum can be expensive
- It will require you to be much more disciplined with your time
- Fewer breaks for you, as the parent-teacher
- Struggling with criticism from family, friends and even strangers.
- Keeping the house clean becomes challenging
- Parents can be placed under a large amount of stress
- The need to keep track of their grades can overwhelm you
- Maybe you just really don’t want to
This list isn’t meant to deter you from homeschooling, but rather to help you understand that while there are many amazing aspects to homeschooling, there are also some drawbacks. Let’s walk through the issues together, and see if there are any solutions to the problems that most new homeschooling parents face.
Issue 1: Organization
Homeschoolers have to be more organized than the average parent. Because you are responsible of keeping track of your child’s education. The idea of keeping track of more than just their report cards might overwhelm you. Additionally you might become overwhelmed when you are trying to figure out if you’d need a special learning space. Especially if you know you don’t have the room to do it. What can you do?
Remember that you aren’t the first person in the world to homeschool. There are many, many families that have gone before you. Ranging from veteran homeschoolers who have been homeschooling for years, to COVID homeschoolers, who started in the spring of 2020 as a response to the first wave. Each person, and each family, have their own unique way to homeschool and how to keep organized.
If the idea of how to get organized for homeschooling is completely derailing you. Then consider reaching out to a veteran homeschooler, or doing some quick Pinterest searches on homeschool organization options. You will find a bounty of amazing tips and tricks on how to keep your homeschool organized and your home flowing in a healthy rhythm.
Issue 2: Less educational events to look forward to.
The school play, the epic basketball games, the fun track and field days. These are all things that you might be concerned that your child will miss, should you decide to homeschool. Let’s look at some facts before we let this issue actually become an issue. While your child will be missing the opportunity to be a part of these school related activities, if you connect with a local homeschooling group – many amazing opportunities will appear.
Our local homeschool group has so many opportunities for our children to choose from. There’s homeschool gymnastics classes at a local gymnastics club. Weekly track and field days with friends. Swimming and horse back riding lessons. Soccer games and pottery classes. And the list continues. When you connect with an amazing homeschooling group your child will have countless opportunities to have fun, and even do things that traditional schooled children can’t because of their schedule.
If you don’t have a homeschool group in your area, consider creating one! Find a city near you that has an established homeschooling group, and tell them that you’d like help to create one where you are. One amazing thing about homeschooling parents, is that they are usually gracious, kind and so excited to help.
Issue 3: Homeschooling can be expensive.
Yes, that’s completely accurate. In fact, when I first started homeschooling I had a very difficult time trying to afford the curriculum. There aren’t many affordable, and wholesome curriculum options available. However, Schoolio Learning does offer the most affordable and easily accessible curriculum option on the market. With bundles including all 4 core subjects, Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies for affordable prices.
Do your research before you purchase a curriculum to compare what you’re getting and for what price, and be sure to read the reviews.
Issue 4: More disciplined with your time.
Time management is key when it comes to homeschooling. That doesn’t mean that you need to have a rigorous daily schedule that keeps everyone on their toes at all times. It just means that instead of letting the kids watch TV for hours, you are careful about turning it off and jumping into healthy learning time with them. It means, not allowing yourself to aimlessly scroll social media for hours, or watching your favourite TV series during school hours. You need to be disciplined with your time.
And, it’s totally possible! It doesn’t mean you can’t watch your favourite show, or scroll social media here and there. Because those things can be your reward for when you’ve completed what needs to be done for the day.
Issue 5: Fewer breaks for you.
It’s true, there are less breaks for you as the homeschooling parent. However, if you are doing remote learning with your child, you’ll know that there are barely any breaks for you either. The difference when it comes to breaks, and remote learning vs. homeschooling is that when you’re homeschooling you have the freedom to create the schedule. When you’re doing remote learning, you are stuck with the schedule that the school provides. Therefore, your life must run around the schedule. Alternatively, when you are homeschooling, the schedule must run around your life.
And, if you are scheduling the homeschool. You will have the ability to schedule in breaks in your daily routine that are just for you. It may not run smoothly at first, but once your family adjusts to this new routine, things will come together quickly and perfectly.
Issue 6: Struggling with criticism.
Homeschooling parents are highly criticized by, almost everyone! While that fact is steadily changing as homeschooling is quickly becoming a fan favourite among parents, (especially because school closures are causing parents to consider homeschooling more and more). You may still face some forms of criticism from people in your social circle.
If you find that you are being criticized for choosing to homeschool your children, just remind yourself that their opinions are theirs, not yours. And, it’s not up to you to change their opinions. It’s up to you to take care of your mental health and well-being, and your family. If homeschooling is something you think will benefit your family, then you don’t need to prove that to anyone.
Issue 7: Keeping the house clean.
Yes, keeping the house clean will be slightly more difficult. Because your children will be spending much more time in the home. They’ll be playing, experimenting, doing art projects, and workbooks. There will be snacks, and lessons in Independent cooking. You will likely be a little more exhausted than normal from caring for the kids and teaching, so you won’t be bouncing with exuberance when it comes to vacuuming and folding the laundry.
This doesn’t mean that you have to let your cleaning standards go. Teach your kids to do chores, to fold their laundry, to help with dishes, and take the trash out. There are many simple chores that your child can partake in, that will help them gain independence and learn important life lessons along the way. Some families even have a house cleaner come to their home every other week, just to do the basics. Like bathrooms, and cleaning the fridge. They’re relatively affordable, some at only $20 an hour. There are so many options available. So don’t worry too much about the way your house will look.
Pro-Tip: Teach your kids to clean up after themselves!
Issue 8: An increase in parental stress.
Unfortunately, homeschooling can cause parents to hold more stress than they did before. Because, with fewer breaks for you as the parent, you might feel burnt out. There’s also the added pressure of making sure that you’re helping your kids learn in the same way that they would if they were at school. Because you likely are afraid that they’ll somehow fall behind or not be accepted back to school once you stop homeschooling.
Just know this: You aren’t screwing your kids up because you are choosing to homeschool them. In fact, many homeschooled children have gone onto university and have led successful careers. Homeschooled children have the opportunity to learn independent learning which will serve them greatly in life. There will be the added pressure of making sure your child is learning, but that can be easily remedied when you add a curriculum that is open-and-go. It takes the lesson planning off your plate. Helping you feel confident that your child is learning exactly what they need to.
Issue 9: Keeping track of their grades.
This is one thing that many, many new homeschoolers worry about. Because they are so accustomed to traditional education, they don’t understand that when you’re homeschooling you will have a very, very good view of how your child is doing educationally. You will know what your child needs more help in, and what they’re excelling at. The same goes with their grades. When they’ve completed an assignment, you can look it over for mistakes. If they’ve made a mistake or two, you can simply guide them through it the next day. Helping them to correct, learn and move forward.
Keeping track of grades isn’t actually a big deal when you’re homeschooling. If you’re temporarily homeschooling to avoid school closures and remote learning, then most schools won’t even ask for grade reports when your child returns. They will simply put your child in the grade that they are supposed to be in. This should take a huge weight off your shoulders.
Issue 10: Maybe you just really don’t want to homeschool.
That’s okay! Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Perhaps you’re okay with jumping from remote learning to in-person. Maybe your job just won’t allow you to work from home so you can be with your child. Or, you just genuinely don’t have any desire to homeschool, but you do want to help your child get more out of their education when it comes to remote learning.
If that’s the case, you can find some pretty amazing learning tools available for students from Kindergarten – Grade 8. If they need some extra help with math, you can pick up a Schoolio Math unit. Perhaps they’re struggling with Language, then you can grab a Schoolio Language Unit that corresponds with the area of Language that they are struggling. Maybe your child is doing just fine but they’re bored with remote learning? Then consider purchasing a Schoolio Novel Study, or Special Interest Unit to keep their minds active and engaged.
Wherever you find yourself, just know this:
You’re doing a great job. Parenting was already a tough gig long before the pandemic happened. Switching from remote learning, to in-person learning, to homeschooling and back again. That’s frustrating and overwhelming for both you and your children. Often times, when things aren’t going well for our child we tend to blame ourselves. Avoid doing that, because this situation is out of our hands! You’re doing the very best that you can despite the challenges that continue to arise. Give yourself some credit, and know that whatever you decide for your child’s education, it will be the right choice!