Home > Uncategorized > We are NOT Witnessing a Massive Shift to Homeschooling… It’s Something Different and Worse

We are NOT Witnessing a Massive Shift to Homeschooling… It’s Something Different and Worse

April 11, 2020

Lifehacker blogger Megan Moravcik Walbert wants her readers to be clear about one fact: what is happening now with nearly every school in America closed is NOT homeschooling. She describes three major differences:

…On one hand, some schools really aren’t giving parents much direction right now, and some of us do want the extra help; on the other, there are a whole lot of parents out there who are already buried under work stress and financial stress and home stress and, oh yeah, there’s a Zoom classroom meeting at noon and a packet of assignments due by Monday, and they don’t need me to put anything else on their plates.

Homeschooling is an intentional act. It takes true commitment from a parent (who often does not also work outside of the home). There are online and local homeschooling communities and co-ops that share resources and support one another and get together for classes, field trips or social events. Yes, homeschooled kids still leave the house.

The three differences then are:

  1. This new parental requirement is imposed, it is not voluntary
  2. Parents need to make certain their children complete a slapdash curriculum cobbled together by school districts on short notice as opposed to the (presumably) coherent and will organized curriculum homeschool parents prepare to meet their child’s unique needs
  3. This homeschool could not have been launched at a worse time: many parents who might be willing to provide home instruction are required to go to work and those who are home likely face enormous emotional and financial stress.

So… if what is happening now is not homeschooling, what exactly is it? Ms. Walberg has the answer:

Call it “Emergency Remote Teaching” if you like or, I don’t know, “Total Bullshit” if you’re feeling brutally honest. There’s got to be a term for what parents are doing right now, but it’s not “homeschooling,” the same way that what is happening right now is not equivalent to regular online education.

Depending on what happens in the next few weeks when countries who encountered the first wave of coronavirus “return to normal”, students MIGHT return to school this year… or… they might have to wait even longer to be together in class and on playgrounds. Here’s hoping that the herd immunity epidemiologists are anticipating once the Covid 19 quarantines is a reality. If so, we might use some of this experience to inform how schools might be able to provide ongoing education for children who have serious illnesses or injuries that preclude them from attending classes. If not, public schools should spend this summer figuring out how to grow some flowers out of the “Total Bullshit” programs that were offered this spring.

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