This is a guest post from Isa Ryan of Crunchy Con Christian Mom
At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, as nearly every family with school-aged children was suddenly thrust into a practice that had previously been adapted by a minority of American families, it was hard for homeschool advocates not to hope that they might find some new converts on their side.
If you passionately believe that homeschool is best for most children, it was hard not to speculate that maybe, just maybe, a silver lining to this whole unprecedented major historical event thing would be that more families would find that not only is homeschool easier than it seems, but it’s actually a greatly fulfilling joy.
It now appears that this was indeed the case for a large group of American families who are now more seriously considering educating at home. *Homeschool mom happy dance*
Faithwire reports that, according to a RealClear Opinion research poll of 2,122 registered voters, there has been a significant increase in parents who are considering continuing with homeschooling after the pandemic ends.
The poll shows that 40 percent of families are more likely to use homeschooling or virtual school education after lockdown restrictions are lifted. And 64 percent support having the choice of a public or private school, according to The American Federation for Children.
From those surveyed who said they would enroll their children in a home school or virtual school, 53 percent were Asian parents, 50 percent were African-American parents and 36 percent were Caucasian parents.
The pandemic has presented parents with a very harsh wake-up call as to what school, or more importantly, education, really is.
There is no point in pretending that this massive homeschooling experiment hasn’t been hugely stressful for millions of parents and children, but that doesn’t mean that the problems that have arisen can only be solved by sending children back to the classroom.
While it’s far from simple, we nonetheless now know that it is possible for basically all of America’s children to be homeschooled at home. And parents are paying attention.
John Schilling, president of the American Federation of Children said that “Every single family with kids in school has been incredibly disrupted by the lockdowns. With 55 million students no longer in their normal educational setting, families are clearly considering new options and many are seeing the benefits of homeschooling and virtual schooling.”
“Policymakers should note that there is a strong desire to have these and other educational options available to families, with both strong support for the general concept of school choice and even stronger support for a specific federal proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships,” he added.
The educational reform movement has been growing for some time, and the coronavirus crisis appears to have formed an interesting peak which, we can only hope, will radically change our national attitude toward education as a whole.
“This is the time for leadership and for desperately needed bold reforms to be implemented across our K-12 education system,” Schilling said. “Millions of families are seeing the inadequacies of school districts that are too inflexible. We owe it to our nation’s families and students to give them more flexibility and additional educational options.”
Homeschool parents like myself often point to the engrained misconceptions we have about childhood education in general which leave so many parents with the default opinion that institutional schools are necessary, and have something which homeschool will always sorely lack.
As the Epoch Times‘ Barbara Danza recently noted in her excellent piece, “Sticking With Homeschool,” parents’ view of their children’s education has been challenged on multiple fronts during the pandemic:
Some parents have come to realize that their kids are mostly bogged down with busywork instead of meaningful learning. Others have experienced the unfortunate surprise of seeing what their children are being taught (and what they’re not). Some have felt relief from witnessing their children as they experience a taste of freedom from the confines of school or seeing how they are thriving in their newly found free time. Maybe beauty and peace have returned to their homes. Maybe their children’s true nature has gradually reemerged as the space between them and the social environment of school widens.
For others, the awakening has come in the form of questions such as: Is school benefitting my child? Is the environment at school a good one? Are the values being extolled at school in line with those of our family? Is the school’s education model the best option available to my child?
As they mull over these ideas, many parents begin to wonder if they could make homeschool a permanent part of their family’s life. Some might even be wondering how they were ever convinced otherwise.
A common belief among homeschoolers is that there is no reason that parenting needs to end where education ends. This doesn’t need to be limited to homeschoolers, though.
Whether you can’t wait to get back into the dropoff line or you’re now knee-deep in homeschool curriculum research, it’s always worthwhile to take a look at your child’s education and consider the values and philosophy with which they are being educated in addition to the material and methods.
Why we educate our children is just as important as how, and most homeschoolers can give you their answer without a second’s hesitation. So even if you’re sending your child back to school happily in the fall, I hope that this pandemic has given you the opportunity to reconsider your why and make sure that it’s the right decision for your family.