For many families, there are looming questions about keeping kids in school safe from COVID-19. But the stress of this spring has left them even more uncertain about virtual school. They have legitimate concerns about how to keep up with possibly a whole year of online classes waiting for things to return to normal, and that much uncertainty and constant change is stressful for the whole family. What difference could it make to home school on purpose, rather than participate in public school virtually?
Take heart, those of you for whom school at home has been more of a nightmare than a dream come true! You have NOT been Home Schooling. You have been Crisis Schooling, stuck in a chaotic game of Whose Plan is It Anyway, where the points are made up and the projects are optional. Improvisation rules, and everything can change with one word from the peanut gallery. (Please note: I have SO MUCH respect for the teachers out there dealing with the insanity of the requirements placed on them to provide continued learning for the students they love so much!)
What makes actual home schooling different from crisis schooling at home? The answer is simple: Freedom!
Want to start school for the year in July? Go for it! Want to take a week off in October because you have several birthdays in the family? No problem! Want to take your vacation in February? Lord willing and the Covid don’t rise, do it! You are not beholden to a calendar created by anyone else!
Are your kids late sleepers? Start school after lunch. Do they melt down or even nap in the afternoon? You can wrap up your work in the morning! Do you have an activity or ministry you are involved in on a certain day of the week? Skip school that day. Beautiful weather has you wishing you were out for a hike or at the zoo? Go! You are in charge of your own schedule and don’t have to check in during anyone’s virtual office hours.
Within the bounds of your state’s requirements, you even have the freedom to decide what your children learn when. There is no need to rush a hesitant reader into chapter books, or to move on to the next level in math until your child is ready. You will not only have the time to make these changes, but you will become familiar with your child to such a degree that you will be able to see what they are ready for without waiting to hear it at a parent/teacher conference. You can even skip a level or spread out a level over more than one year. You are free to move at your child’s pace.
If you are frustrated by being required to teach your children according to someone else’s calendar, schedule, or pacing, you may find the leap to purposeful home schooling very worthwhile!