Coranavirus. Covid 19. We’ve all heard about it.
The chaos. We’ve got the anxious predicting the end of all things. There’s the optimist enjoying all the time in the world baking and cooking (So good seeing all the nice photos of food on social media. So bad to be craving them during lockdown!)
Is it all just fear mongering by the media? Is this virus really not as bad as we are making it out to be? I don’t know. But I do know our lives as we know it have changed.
A new normal
One of the new normals that we have to get used to now and maybe for many weeks (months?) to come is children being educated at home. Every parent has been thrown into what they call homeschooling.
On the one hand, teachers are frantically prepping and churning materials for students to have something to do at home. On the other hand, there are parents feeling burdened by this extra responsibility at home. And if they have the added role of working from home right now, the pressure is doubled. Of course not every parent feels that way. I have heard that there are parents that were never sure about homeschooling now wanting to continue doing so even after our lives resumes to somewhat normal.
But.. is this really homeschooling?
Sorry to burst your bubble. Right now, even homeschooling families are going through unusual circumstances. We have been homeschooling our children for a few years now. And we find our normal disrupted too.
One term I came across that I thought aptly fits every child schooling at home right now is ‘quarantine schooling’.Here’s a few of the many random thoughts I have had observing the education scene right now.
Plans and goals
Before pulling our daughter out of public school, we mulled over it for quite some time. We knew God was calling us to do it, but it was still a huge leap of faith.
I was personally terrified of totally messing up our children’s education and future. We took time to look through different curriculums. We settled on one that suited our long term education goals and their specific needs. Most importantly, it is a biblically based curriculum that will allow our children opportunities to know their Creator and build their characters.
Parents thrown into educating their children right now have not had the time nor the need to make plans or have goals. Some have been assigned work to be done by the school. Others are downloading every free education material online to make sure their children are still doing school work. The goal at present is make sure children keep up with some sort of education until they are able to return to public schools.
When we first started researching homeschooling, I read about the need to deschoolmy daughter. To deschool basically means “the process of adjusting to the non-school environment of everyday life after leaving the education system” (yourdictionary.com). It is to help children change their mindsets of what schooling looks like and feels like.
The idea is not to pull children out of school one day and throw them into a whole new curriculum the next day. It is a transition. Some parents choose to take a break completely from school work. Others encourage their children to explore their areas of interest. In good time, formal learning is introduced.
Having grown up in a public school and obtaining an education degree after that, I found this deschooling period essential for me too. It helped me not to just recreate school at home. I am still constantly reminding myself that learning goes beyond a boxed and set out curriculum. I always like listening to my children say, “This is learning too, mum!”.
Again, as we are well aware, parents and children thrown into this unusual lockdown and restricted movement circumstances did not have much time to consider much about what to do when it comes to schooling. There was and seems to be no time for a transition as we dealtand continue to deal with all the stress brought on by the pandemic.
Ahhh… the number one thing that I have been asked most since we started homeschooling.
What about socialization?
Do your kids have friends?
Are they just home all the time?
Surprise! Our kids do have friends. And gasp.. They are able to talk to and actually hold conversations with other human beings!
Jokes aside, homeschooling is not a lonely journey. Like everything else in life, your journey is what you make it to be. There are countless social opportunities at activities organized for and by homeschoolers. Sports, music, church and play groups are a few examples. If your child is interested in animals, organize an educational field trip to the zoo or local farm and get other homeschoolers onboard. Join the numerous activities by your local library. The options for social interactionsare limited only to your imagination.
So, as you can imagine, we are in the same boat as every other family. My kids are also desperate for human contact!
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that those of us who chose to homeschool before this pandemic hit got it all right and that everyone else right now has no right to use the term homeschooling. On the contrary, I want to encourage everyone to not put homeschooling in a box.
If you are enjoying schooling at home, I am excited for you. There is a lot more to homeschooling that you will enjoy if you choose to continue this journey. If you are still struggling to cope with all the learning that your children have to do at home and wondering why people like me homeschool, remember that this is not what homeschooling usually looks like even for veteran homeschooling families out there.
Homeschooling. Public schools. Quarantine schooling. We are all adjusting to a new normal. In the weeks to come, show ourselves some grace. I hope we don’t just survive this season but thrive through it.
God in His infinite wisdom has chosen us to be the parents of our children.Be encouraged by these words from Sarah Mackenzie, "This work of homeschooling and raising hearts and souls and bodies is hard. It is more than I can do in my own strength. Even so, more than anything else, I desire to teach and mother in a way that pleases God. Some days that feels like feeding the five thousand. But He is not asking me to feed the five thousand; He just wants me to bring my basket of loaves and fish and lay them at His feet." (Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace)
Whether you are homeschooling them all the way to university, or educating them only for a time during a pandemic, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 31).
Mussita Ng is a follower of Jesus Christ from Wellington, New Zealand. Her previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mussita-ng.html