This article was written by Jacob Pomeroy.
Homeschooling, long stigmatized by misinformation, has become a growing necessity (and burden) for parents in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. With school lockdowns in effect, a majority of parents have found themselves forced into the inconvenient situation of having their children learn remotely. Single, working mothers, having to find new ways to manage both occupational and child-rearing responsibilities, have shouldered a disproportionate amount of the workload.
Adding to the challenge, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal, many parents, growing increasingly frustrated with the demands and perceived ineffectiveness of remote learning, have opted to pull their children out of the school system and try their hand in the role of the educator. This demographic includes single mothers, for whom the challenge is amplified.
Fortunately, an abundant array of homeschooling resources can help lessen the blow of this timely burden and guide parents on their new pathway toward taking the reins of their children’s education.
A sturdy general education combines a multitude of educational philosophies, examining the goals, forms, and methods of teaching. Extrapolating from an array of these differing schools of thought can hopefully provide parents insight on informing their own homeschooling goals.
Early twentieth-century social reformers, Charlotte Mason and Rudolph Steiner both cultivated differing, but equally valid and long-standing educational philosophies, with Mason placing an emphasis on creativity and appreciation of literature (SCM method), and Steiner emphasizing holistic personal development and creative intelligence (Waldorf method). Another approach, and popular amongst alternative educators, Leadership Education, otherwise known as Thomas Jefferson Education, focuses, like its namesake on critical thinking as opposed to the acquisition of raw knowledge. The Montessori method (named after Italian physician Marie Montessori), focusing on self-motived growth, will appeal to parents looking to involve their children in a more hands-on type of learning experience.
In the midst of entertaining the merits (and possible detriments) of these different ideologies, parents looking for a more streamlined, and well, classical approach to education, should find the Classical method, focusing on grammar, logic, and rhetoric, a time-tested winner.
Choosing a curriculum is one of the most intimidating challenges faced by new homeschoolers, especially finding one that is on par, or even exceeds those offered by school systems. Fortunately, a variety of well-regarded homeschooling curriculums are readily available.
For artistic-minded pupils, or parents interested in branching out towards a more creative approach to education, look no further – Oak Meadow, prioritizing creativity, and frequently weaving art projects in with academic assignments, offers weekly lesson plans which incorporate a wide variety of academic tasks. In addition, they offer craft kits and supplementary materials, further cultivating a student’s creative development.
As appealing as a curriculum focused on the creative arts may be for some parents, many still prefer a more streamlined, dare say, typical school curriculum. Catering to that mindset are k12 and Moving Beyond the Page. While k12 offers a complete and integrated curriculum at state standards, Moving Beyond the Page, while focused on the same educational objectives, places an emphasis on critical thinking and reading comprehension. Their acclaimed project-based instruction exceeds national standards.
Websites for Online Learning
According to ChildMind.org, one of the primary reasons students are failing to engage with remote learning is the focus on highly specific modes of transferring information. For example, a student who struggles to process auditory information will invariably struggle with video lessons. Ultimately, as the old adage says – one size doesn’t fit all, and the limitations of remote learning, when attempting to cater to a wide variety of student needs, can’t pass muster at near the same level of person-to-person classroom learning.
Fortunately, homeschooling parents, knowing more intimately their children’s learning needs, have at their disposal an impressive spread of online learning resources available, gratifying different demands.
For curriculums indulging a broad variety of learning styles, including video clips and interactive exercises, both Khan Academy and Clickschooling, offering directly emailed curriculums, prove more than adequate. For more specified learning, DuoLingo offers language learning curriculums, fitted to multiple learning styles, for pupils of all ages and proficiency levels.
Social Media Communities
Naturally, homeschooling parents will want to reach out to a community of others in similar circumstances. In the dire (but hopefully waning) timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with person-to-person congregations ill-advised, a number of social media communities for homeschooling parents are experiencing unprecedented traffic.
Hip Homeschool Moms, even if the name may elicit a few groans, is a great resource, not only as a viable community of homeschooling moms (I know, what a shock), but also offers a tremendous (and growing) reserve of articles covering nearly every aspect of homeschooling. For moms (and dads) looking to connect, they offer opportunities via Twitter parties.
The Old Schoolhouse, a quarterly magazine that began in 2001, like Hip Homeschool Moms, offers a diverse array of articles detailing every aspect of homeschooling. Yes, every aspect, including “Jobs with Animals” and “Horses and Homeschooling.” Whew! For parents looking to connect, both with the magazine staff and with other homeschooling parents, they, like Hip Homeschooling Moms, offer opportunities via Twitter parties.
Parents new to homeschooling, no matter their circumstances, face a daunting task, but at the very least, one with resources available to help smooth out the frequently bumpy pathway of their children’s educational development. With COVID-19 vaccinations now on the horizon for many Americans, how the (hopefully) dwindling months of the pandemic will affect school systems and remote learning remains to be determined. Ideally, teachers and children will soon safely be able to return to the classroom and lift the at-home learning burden from parents. However, considering the growing popularity of homeschooling, stands the possibility that the practice may be on the dawn of a new renaissance, as parents, utilizing the resources available to them, may discover newfound fulfillment and potential.