Many of you are considering homeschooling or a similar format because of fear due to the COVID-19 virus or the unknown layout of the education system in the midst of these unfortunate challenges. We personally know some of the best teachers in the world, but these are challenging environments for anyone in which to teach and to learn. And even if you aren’t a hyper-anxious parent, these times are able to make the calmest parent a little edgy.
I am writing this post to dispel an assumption about homeschooling, but I am not writing it to convince you that your family needs to homeschool.
We are homeschoolers, but we are a certain type of homeschoolers. We aren’t the type that thinks it’s homeschooling or die. I believe that every family needs to make the best decision for their children, and they don’t have to defend that to anyone.
With that laying the groundwork, we have been approached by so many people who are intimidated by homeschooling due to what the final months of the last school year felt like. I can promise you homeschooling is not the same as schooling your child in your home through online assignments and video conferencing. Homeschooling is different than hybrid-schooling.
- You wouldn’t pull up a driving instructor on FaceTime when you have an experienced driver in the car with you.
- You don’t mail in a taste sample from what you cooked to the person who gave you the cookbook.
- You don’t stop building a table to get on a video-conference call to see how everyone else’s table is coming along.
Homeschooling puts the responsibility for the direction and the implementation of a child’s education solely on the parents.
While there are plenty of resources to give you ideas or to guide your every single step, homeschooling provides freedom for your child’s education. In numerous ways, it is the most challenging yet most simple approach to education. To homeschool a child ensures that the most dramatic change of life is for the parent due to the challenges that accompany it, but yet it also provides a unique simplicity toward focus, schedule, and direction.
Determine the Reason for Your Frustration
If you had to school your children at home for the last few months of the school year, you weren’t homeschooling. You were listening to someone else’s instructions for schooling within your home. There is a major difference. There are pros and cons to either one. You need to determine which one is best for your children for the next semester or year. If you were frustrated by the way the school year concluded, you first need to determine why.
- Were you frustrated because of your child’s behavior? If your child was unruly, undisciplined, and unmotivated, that isn’t a schooling problem, that is a behavior problem. That is something that needs to be addressed regardless of the schooling format you choose.
- Were you frustrated because you had to juggle responsibilities? Much of the stress that parents felt in those months were dealing with the failed attempts of juggling the child’s education, the work assignments, and the life situations all crammed into one environment. Your frustration may have been the situation and not the actual schooling part.
- Were you frustrated because the technological format was challenging? If you struggle with tech, no doubt your frustration grew trying to download, upload, format, Zoom, chat, etc. That frustration doesn’t mean you can’t cut it with your child’s education.
- Were you frustrated because your child’s particular teacher was unclear on assignments? Your experience could have been completely different based on the school and the teacher. I heard from many parents who said their teachers went over and beyond and provided a great experience, but I heard some who were very concerned about the lack of organization (knowing that a sentiment like that is an abstract designation);.
- Were you frustrated due to stress with the state of the world? Let’s be honest. These last few months have been crazy. Maybe your child’s education felt the consequence of your frustration but may not have been the actual cause.
You Are Only Responsible for Your Family’s Decision
I will go back and reiterate from previous posts, but you have to make the decision that works best for your family for the coming year, and you don’t have to defend it to anyone.
- For those who think they couldn’t homeschool due to the hybrid-schooling stress they experienced in the spring, realize that the two are very different things.
- For those who want or need to send their children to schools physically gathering, make all the precautions you need to make, and get behind your decision with everything you got.
- For those who will be doing some type of hybrid situation, don’t make a teacher, administrator, or a child pay for the frustration of a situation of which they are not responsible.
We all will take different paths, but we each have the same responsibility. Study, discuss, pray, and decide what is the best way to raise your children in the most God-directed path as possible for the near future. For what intimidates you, gather some people who have gone down that path and learn from them. Seek out those who seem like they are peaceful. Look for those who seem convinced of their decision. Learn from those families who encourage you.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.