In the first 2-part series, Fearless Educating #1 and #2, we covered the top 3 fears parents sometimes have when considering homeschooling. Now onto the nuts-and-bolts of actually beginning to homeschool… If you are one of the many families considering homeschooling as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, so many questions might be popping into your mind!
Did you know that almost the same across political party lines, 40% of families are considering homeschooling, even as lockdowns end?
With all the craziness going on in society, some public schools haven’t been able to decide whether to open up or not, which can be nerve-wracking for parents as they try to deal with work schedules. Maybe your child would appreciate the stability in having a firm schedule set up for the fall – homeschooling can provide that.
There is so much information online (some of it is even conflicting!), that it can be overwhelming… Let us at S’moresUp answer your top questions in a simple way to help you make the best decision for your family.
As a veteran homeschooler, let me share the answers to the 3 main questions I hear from parents who are considering homeschooling for the first time in this pandemic environment:
How dangerous is COVID-19 to my kids and to their teachers?
According to the CDC, “Limited data about COVID-19 in children suggest[s] that children are less likely to get COVID-19 than adults, and if they do contract COVID-19, they generally have less serious illness than adults. While uncommon, deaths and rare illness such as multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) may still occur.”
While this suggests that children don’t catch the virus as readily as adults, there is so much uncertainty and so much seemingly conflicting information in studies across the board. Many parents don’t want to risk their kids getting sick and being that “rare” case. Worse, children can spread the virus to their loved ones who may be older. Parents are also concerned about their child’s teachers. They don’t want to cause the teachers to get sick, either.
Homeschooling would help keep families quarantining safely and banish these worries.
How would COVID-19 change a normal school day for my child?
Many state’s guidelines recommend that children wear masks during the day, as well as social distancing in the classroom, the cafeteria, and even on the playground.
Parents are uneasy about how sanitary conditions will be and also how safe it is for kids to wear a mask that limits their breathing at all times during the day. Parents also wonder whether the additional carbon dioxide is a risk, whether it might feel like a punishment to kids, or whether kids might switch masks with friends. Also, would masking really be effective if 100% of students didn’t properly use a clean mask or use a mask that fits properly?
Many families also are concerned about their child’s school being shut down halfway through the semester if there is an outbreak at the school… after they’ve already made arrangements to go back to work again.
Homeschooling mask-free at home can be a “breath of fresh air” for parents worrying about the quality of their kid’s air, breathing through a mask all day.
Are schools expecting my child to sit at a computer for hours a day?
Lots of families who used their school’s distance learning during lockdowns aren’t happy with how it all went. They said that the schools expected their students to sit in front of a computer screen for 6 or 7 hours a day – not to mention homework time!
There are many documented negative effects of too much screen time in children. For instance, “In recent years, many countries are experiencing epidemic levels of myopia, or short-sightedness, and indoor time may be to blame. In Seoul, South Korea, for example, 96.5 percent of 19-year-old men wear glasses. Researchers think it may be due to lack of exposure to sunlight, which might be important for proper eye development.” Screen time has also been linked to poor sleep quality, weight gain, behavioral problems, lower language skills and brain development, and more.
“In a study in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers found that two or more hours per day of screen time made a child almost eight times more likely to meet criteria for ADHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder compared with children who spent 30 minutes or less per day on the devices.”
Since homeschooling is not the same thing as distance learning, your child can do in a matter of a few hours what a classroom situation takes many hours to accomplish. Think of the time it takes to review the same materials, take attendance, make sure all the students are on Zoom correctly, deal with discipline issues, etc. All that time is gained in homeschooling – and gained back with the parent in charge of the amount of screen time a child is exposed to.
What about HOW to exactly begin homeschooling?
S’moresUp can help you start to begin a routine as you start to carve out more structure to your days and decide whether or not homeschooling is right for your family. In the next part of this series, we will talk about how to jump in and get started homeschooling as well as making sure you know the laws of your particular state.