Since the pandemic began, many parents have been trying to manage their children’s schooling from home. Our family has received comments such as “I don’t know how you enjoy homeschooling, it’s so hard!” or “I can’t believe you like homeschooling, I can’t wait until the kids go back to school.”
Let me declare loudly, pandemic schooling is NOT homeschooling. Homeschooling is a conscious choice that families have made. Pandemic schooling is hard. Pandemic schooling was forced upon families in the middle of a global crisis with no warning, preparation or resources.
Here are three (3) major ways that ‘schooling from home’ during a pandemic differs from homeschooling:
- Parent Work Schedules
Many parents that are attempting to manage their children’s schooling from home during the pandemic, also have full-time jobs. If you, and any co-parents, have full-time jobs, it is very difficult to manage your children’s online schooling program from home at the same time.
Most homeschoolers have at least one guardian that isn’t working or they have parents with flexible work schedules. For example, I work from home and I reduced my work schedule to about 20 hours per week when I started homeschooling, so I have plenty of time manage our day. Our family had the opportunity, in advance, to plan how homeschooling would work.
2. Curriculum and Scheduling
Most pandemic schooling parents are following a curriculum and schedule that have been provided by their school. This means families have little or no input on the flow of their day or what their children are learning.
Homeschoolers have the freedom to decide whether or not to use a curriculum (FYI, our family doesn’t follow a curriculum). If a homeschool family decides to use a curriculum, they select which one, and how much of it to follow. Homeschool parents also get to decide which days and times they will homeschool. If we want to start learning at 6:00 am, we can. Start at 10:00 am? Yes! If we want to skip a day of school altogether, no problem! This is much less stressful than following a curriculum and schedule that’s been forced upon us by the government during a pandemic.
3. Stress and Mental Health
Many families are feeling the stress of the pandemic. Perhaps you’ve lost your job or you’ve lost a loved one. Maybe quarantining or ‘stay at home’ orders are taking a toll on your family’s mental health. This makes managing ‘school from home’ very hard.
Normally, homeschooling families decide under positive circumstances to keep their kids home with them. Furthermore, there are normally many weekday homeschool programs and events that homeschool families attend. Many of these are currently closed due to the pandemic; however; homeschoolers know that when this is all over, these wonderful events and programs will re-open.
If you’re feeling stressed, you aren’t alone. Many people are feeling this way. We find that daily exercise goes a long way towards helping with mental (and physical!) health. In our area, public parks are open, and we visit them often for exercise, fresh air and a change of scenery (see a list here). Try ditching school for a few days, get outdoors and have fun – your kids will love it, and they will easily catch up on school later, we promise!
We’re All in This Together
If anyone is struggling with pandemic schooling, don’t go it alone. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for support or join the Facebook parent groups that we’ve listed here at the bottom of the page. One of the parent groups is specifically focused on COVID schooling in Canada.
If you’re looking for fun ways to spend family time at home, check out our post about Family Theme Nights. If you’re looking for more tips on surviving pandemic schooling, read our prior post here.
Overall, be kind to yourself – pandemic schooling is hard and it’s definitely not the same as homeschooling. Just do the best you can. If coming out of this with your sanity is all that your family can manage, then that’s an amazing achievement in itself.
We’ve shared this quote in past, and we love it so much that we’re sharing it again:
Quote of the Day:
“Dear Parents, Don’t stress about schoolwork. When school resumes I will get your children back on track. I am a teacher and that’s my superpower. What I can’t fix is social-emotional trauma that prevents the brain from learning. So right now, I just need you to share your calm, share your strength, and share your laughter with your children. No kids are ahead. No kids are behind. Your children are exactly where they need to be.”― WITH LOVE, TEACHERS EVERYWHERE
Lisa & Mara