Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has shut down or stifled almost every aspect of everyday life. Schools were the first to go. Because of this, the nation was forced to engage in a nationwide homeschool experiment. As it turns out, some parents and students have enjoyed the result.
While some parents and students have undoubtedly struggled with the transition, some have reported a lot of positives. Many simply enjoy having more time to spend with their families.
I would never suggest that we use an impromptu back-up plan during a global pandemic as a referendum on homeschooling, and there is big difference between parents doing 100% of the teaching and planning versus the hybrid teacher and parent model most are using now. However, if parents are willing and able to try on their own, I don’t think they should be discouraged.
But in an educational system where student headcount payouts are a source of income, predictably the think pieces against homeschooling have started appearing online. Some of the criticisms of homeschooling make sense. There is a lot you miss out on by not attending school, and it is true some parents are not equipped to run school.
But that same line of logic can be used in reverse.
There is a lot you can gain from attending school at home like 1 on 1 attention and less behavior issues, particularly for students who are frequently suspended. Also, some parents are well equipped to teach classes to their children, maybe even more so than the teachers they had at school. The internet and various learning programs have also made the prospect of teaching and planning a curriculum a lot less daunting should parents choose to utilize those resources. In many places that is what the students would do if you sent them to school anyway.
In my personal opinion, sending students to school is typically your best bet and we will likely see a much more pronounced “summer slide” due to the early closings from COVID-19. With that being said, the purpose of school choice is to let students and families choose the best educational options for them and for certain percentage of the population that option may be at home.