Quarantine-schooling and homeschooling are apples and oranges, but multitudes of parents have taken this period with kids at home as a snapshot of what a home education means. Before you take the snapshot seriously, take a step back and view the panoramic beyond the pandemic.
Homeschooling was never suited to be an emergency replacement for school, but it is suited to support you in recovering from grief together and rebuilding life together.
Quarantine Schooling is Not Homeschooling
Just as the world seems to be adjusting to homeschooling, I have never missed it more. Meaningful learning is
- with other people
- about other people,
- and for other people.
Social isolation, therefore, has maimed our education beyond recognition.
But life will not always be like this. More home-education communities will arise from these ashes. Whether in school or out of it, rebuilding community will be hard work. Will you join one that is provided by a school system or help create one that is aimed at service, life-long learning, and devotion to God?
It Gets Easier
Having the kids home all day is difficult.
Doing it in isolation is among the most difficult tasks you will face as a parent, and you have nearly completed it.
Every step from now on, towards sustainable routine and mutual re-connection, makes homeschool life more rewarding and balanced. Don’t make a life for yourself in the tunnel, watch for the light at the end of the tunnel. Being a homeschool parent before lockdown was the most gratifying work I had ever done.
Give the Whole Family Space to Recover from Grief
This morning I burst into tears while hanging up the washing. I was thinking of our routine on a Thursday: the people we saw and the life we had. Every day in our week has been gutted of major projects and social commitments. That is a serious loss.
We are grieving for a life lost. It will return, but not as before, and not without healing. The home is the best context for that healing, where hugging and singing is permitted, and where learners collaborate to bless a broken world.
Putting children back in school may give us parents some space in the short-term, but if you plan on putting them on a fast-track to exams in the cultural war-zone of school, you might experience disruption to your family’s recovery.
Boost Academic Success at Home
Among the many myths about homeschooling is the obdurate lie that grades will suffer. Although it is worth putting away a preoccupation with measurable success, those of us who are worried about grades ought to look at the evidence. Sandra Martin-Chang of Concordia University, for example, led a study in 2011, examining 37 structured homeschoolers and 37 public school students. She found that homeschoolers using lesson plans or a curriculum were at least one grade ahead of public schoolers on 5 of 7 test areas.
For many, school grades have suffered in the lockdown, but homeschooling is not the problem here—the lockdown is. In fact, if you’re looking to bump up grades, homeschooling seems to present a solution.
I, personally, flourished academically after being homeschooled with Sonlight curriculum. Reading about these Sonlight students is also a remarkable encouragement.
A World-class Christian Education
A master carpenter does not send his new apprentice out on his own to an important client. Nor does the master keep the apprentice cooped up at home to get book-smart. The apprentice goes with the master to the work site, where he learns the trade from the master. Eventually the apprentice is sent out to build his own business, using his acquired skills.
Before sending our children into the world to be ambassadors for Christ, allow your children to be apprentices at home alongside you.
- Let’s be an apprentice to Gladys Aylward on how to be unashamed of the gospel in the face of government pressures.
- Let’s be an apprentice to David Livingstone on how to be both a Christian and a scientist among unreached peoples.
- Our children must be an apprentice to Jesus on what it means to be sent of the Father.
- And they must be our apprentices of what wisdom looks like in the midst of a worldwide crisis.
Let your children be children before they hit the front-lines.
You may feel, like me, knocked down by the lockdown. We are still reeling, trying to redefine our place in the world. Not only will homeschooling with a high-quality Chirstian curriculum nurture your recovery, it will re-orientate you in the world, academically, and as ambassadors of Jesus.