Embracing the benefits of homeschooling during the Pandemic
By Dinah Whitton
Prior to the declaration of a global pandemic in March 2020, homeschooling was a foreign concept to some families. Now it’s a hot topic as parents question whether or not moving public school to an online format is actually effective for their children. Being confined to a fixed schedule while adhering to provincial restrictions can be overwhelming, to say the least. Traditional homeschooling provides families with the flexibility needed to foster a love of learning even during challenging times.
HOMESCHOOLING vs. VIRTUAL LEARNING
Making the switch from attending school in person to completely online can be very stressful for both children and parents. Adjusting to a school’s specific schedule at home can contrast with family dynamics and learning styles. With both parents and children home due to provincial restrictions, work and school schedules are conflicting. When the classroom becomes virtual, children are subject to a rigorous schedule at home with extended screen time. The current model of online learning limits a child’s natural ability to play, explore and learn naturally.
Homeschooling can include online resources, but parents are the primary educator. Children can learn at their own pace through any means that work best for their abilities. Parents have the freedom to choose how to provide the best education for their children. From the curriculum to the schedule – parents can choose what works for their family without external pressures.
Regardless of what is happening in the world, your children can still receive quality education at home. Here’s how one family is making it work!
Since the birth of her first child and becoming a stay-at-home mother, Jamie has always been interested and curious about homeschooling. In May 2020, Jamie and her husband decided to homeschool because of the new Covid restrictions at their local school. Their three children, ages 4, 7 and 8 years old, officially began home education in August 2020.
“Because we had already adapted to a single income, when we were faced with the decision on whether to homeschool or send the kids back into the system it was truly a no brainer.”
Even though they were all very excited, Jamie says it has taken some time to find a flow, “I was definitely over thinking things in the beginning and felt like I needed to get ALL the things done every day. I’ve learned to let go of a lot of the expectations I had of myself.” Fortunately, it didn’t take long for Jamie to make the necessary changes and with the help of her husband they had a smooth transition.
Jamie is truly relishing as a home educator and enjoys watching her children flourish, “Experiencing their interests and excitement as they learn and discover new things daily is a gift I didn’t even realize I was missing out on.” She loves being able to learn with her children and experiencing the benefits of a relaxed schedule, “It really is so special to just ‘BE’ and to be present without the constant rush and pressure of the mainstream.”
Based on her family’s journey so far, Jamie encourages parents to embrace that heart-felt feeling to homeschool, “…because nothing else matters.” She recommends following your children’s lead and remember to have fun in the process, “Learning can happen anywhere. It doesn’t have to come from a textbook.” Jamie also suggests finding like-minded people to lean on because a good support system is invaluable. And, the absolute best advice she can give to anyone starting out on this incredible life changing journey: “the laundry can wait!”
THE BENEFITS OF HOMESCHOOLING
Homeschooling provides a tremendous opportunity to incorporate learning based on your family dynamics. Research continues to prove that parents are quite capable of providing quality education at home. And, contrary to stereotypical beliefs, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and scary. As parents, you are your child’s first educator. You are uniquely positioned because you know your kids outside of a formal classroom. As the primary educator, you can create a homeschool that is flexible, sustainable and family focused.
If you have one child or multiple, homeschooling gives you the opportunity to create a schedule that makes sense for your family. From daily schedules to academic goals, you have the ability to decide how and when your children are educated. And, you can take breaks when you need to. You can choose the homeschool method that is ideal for you and your children. As your child’s primary educator, you also have the flexibility to make changes along the way.
Homeschooling continues to be an effective educational option for various Canadian families. Even if your family is considering it because of the current climate, home education is feasible for both short and long term goals. There are resources readily available for all ages and abilities so you don’t have to go at it alone. And if you’re thinking ahead, be encouraged: homeschool grads are making positive impressions on post secondary professors. Canadian homeschool research continues to show that home educated students are well prepared for college, university and life beyond academics.
The true essence of home education involves putting your family first in every aspect of life. Homeschooling families can enjoy learning together in a variety of ways that support their interests and goals. In addition, there are thriving support groups that have pivoted online to help homeschool families stay connected during these difficult times.
It’s natural to have questions about home education, especially if your family hasn’t experienced it yet. When in doubt, start at the beginning! Browse Homeschool.Today to learn more through the various resources including a thorough FAQ section and learning style quiz. Or, if you have additional questions, visit the contact us page and a homeschooling expert will connect with you.