School closures mean that millions of parents and guardians are now tasked to educate children in the comforts of their home, said Matt Villano of American news channel CNN. Transitioning from traditional schooling to homeschooling has turned caregivers and parents into home-based teachers. Since they are accustomed to sending their kids to schools, they are faced with the unfamiliar territory of homeschooling.
Statistics On Homeschooling
Data from the 2016 NHES (National Household Education Surveys Program) revealed that the most common reasons parents for choosing homeschooling were a concern about the environment of other schools (80%) and dissatisfaction with academic instruction (61%), cited the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), an advocate for homeschooled children.
Other reasons cited by the parents were to provide a moral (67%) or religious instruction (51%) and a desire to provide a non-traditional approach (39%). Parents chose homeschooling because their child has a physical or mental health problem (14%), has other special needs (20%), has a temporary illness 4%. Parents cited other reasons (22%) for homeschooling their child.
On the other hand, abusive parents tend to homeschool their kids to isolate and conceal their maltreatment. In most cases, homeschooling happens after a report is made to a child abuse hotline or when the child services are close. According to data from Barbara Knox and colleagues, 47% of victims of severe child abuse were withdrawn to be homeschooled, 29% were not allowed to attend school, and 12% were enrolled in school or withdrawn without explanation.
The Sutton Trust survey found that 47% of middle-class parents said they feel confident homeschooling while schools are closed unlike 37% of working-class parents, reported Eleanor Busby of The Sunday Post, a weekly newspaper published in Scotland. Kids from working-class families (60%) were more likely to have spent nothing on their child’s home learning amid the closures, compared with 45% of those from middle-class families.
42% of 1,500 parents felt assured about home education. 14% spend more than £100 on home learning and 8% spend over £150. “To reduce the impact of school closures on the most disadvantaged pupils, we’d like to see high-quality online tuition available to the most disadvantaged pupils,” stated Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation.
This also supports the latest findings of the CUNY coronavirus tracking survey, in which 37% of households with a high school degree or less reported that their child is able to complete their online coursework (versus 67% of parents with some college or more), mentioned EurekAlert!, an online science news service. 56% of parents with high school degrees or less reported that homeschooling is going well unlike 62% of parents with some college or more.
Of respondents who took the survey in Spanish, 56% had difficulty in schooling their kids at home compared to 33% of English speakers. 50% of Spanish-speaking parents said they kids are having trouble with online school assignments unlike 40% of those whose parents speak English. Internet access was found to be a greater challenge in Spanish-speaking households (27%) than those who responded in English (15%).
59% of all parents who are homeschooling their kids without an online component reported things are going well. However, 25% said they experienced a lot of trouble and 12% said it is causing them a lot of stress and anxiety.
How to Effectively Transition to Homeschooling?
1. Acknowledge That Homeschooling Is Not School
Parents and caregivers should remember that homeschooling is not school. Children who are used to the school environment may not be as focused when they are homeschooled. Lessons will also not be as professional compared to traditional schools. Socializing with peers will be tougher since local governments across the globe are encouraging people to minimize interaction and to practice social distancing.
Kimberly Fox, staff developer for The Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University in New York, stated that it is important for you to stop feelings of disbelief and doubt and focus on homeschooling. Fox noted, “Under these circumstances, we're not going to entirely replace all of the structures that happen at school. But we can do a couple of things to make kids feel more secure and to make us feel like we're making the most of this time."
2. Create A Schedule
It is best to have some structure and routine to help your child feel secure, suggested Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical center. Having a schedule also adds consistency. Be sure that the schedule is tied to the order in which tasks get done (instead of time). Schedules should be realistic because like everyone else, they are just getting by through the day.
Many schools have online learning platforms or gave kids with packets of academic requirements to complete. Even so, your child has the right to say which subjects or topics they would like to learn. However, Don’t expect your child to absorb tons of academic information if they are not calm or feel secure.
“Include chores, family dinners or breakfasts, and family projects in your new family routines,” suggested Jen Reyneri, who has homeschooled two sons. You can also make time for educational games or math and music.
3. Try to Prioritize Life Skills
For example, you can incorporate math into cooking or teaching science while making slime when you have younger children at home. For older kids, they are also trying to learn how to manage their time to accomplish their requirements or develop their study skills for independent learning. You can also help them improve these skills.
4. Know That Every Child Has Their Own Needs
What if you see the words “optional” or “enrichment,” does that mean you should not bother it anymore? That depends on you and your child. Teachers provide materials for children who want to do more. Find out what works for you and your little one. That way, you can prevent conflict from arising.
Choose your battles and if your child is interested in a topic, be prepared to do some extra work. “Nobody knows your kids better than you do. It's OK to take the time to give [each of them] what they need," stated J. Allen Weston, executive director of the National Home School Association in Denver.
Know your child’s limits, as well as your own. For parents who work remotely, it might be a challenge to juggle between their job and their child’s education. For kids, they might not be as focused as they used to in school. Both parents and kids should do their best— everyone is trying to live through the mental, emotional, and financial stress of the pandemic.