Homeschooling During the Pandemic: We’ve Become the Stereotype

So the world all of a sudden grew perfectly OK with homeschooling. After being harshly judged, interrogation-styled questioned, and being scoffed at for my choice to homeschool, parents everywhere saw themselves without any other option than to teach (or not teach) their kids at home. I saw posts everywhere about how homeschooling is going, and I had two reactions. The first was “well, hopefully after this is all over, people will be more open to and less judgmental about homeschooling.” My other reaction was… “people still have no idea what homeschooling is.”

Homeschooling During the Pandemic: We’ve become the stereotype

One of the questions I got ad nauseam any time some new person learned I homeschool my kids was: “what about socialization?” Apparently these folks think I keep my children locked at home all day long. My kids socialize during swimming lessons, acting lessons, sports sessions, art classes, nature walks, homeschooling socials, when they just go into a store with me, and the list goes on. They did, that is… until the pandemic began. We have now become the stereotype that’s often believed about homeschoolers. We don’t go anywhere and we don’t see anyone. 

It’s been tough for both the kids and the parents in our home not to be able to take part in activities, but we know it’s what’s best for everyone. And we’re trying to make up for this by having lots of video calls with friends and family, and by doing extra special things with our kiddos. For example, each night of the week someone chooses an activity to do together after dinner. The kids all look forward to their night and we all enjoy the time spent together. We also don’t do as much “school” as we were doing before the pandemic.

Homeschooling During the Pandemic: Being adaptable is the name of the game

We’re fairly eclectic homeschoolers. We do what works. We have three children with wildly different personalities and levels of ability. One of our children has ADHD, is on the spectrum, and has Developmental Coordination Disorder, while another child devours books, and the other is more interested in playing and climbing anything that can be climbed. Being adaptable was already a necessity in our household, but when the pandemic hit, it became even more so.

We stopped “doing school” long before the school year was over. We let the kids have some real vacation with no expectations other than doing their chores, saying family prayers, and doing some exercise together. When a child’s world gets turned upside down, you have to be OK with change in your own world, too. No, I’m not worried about my kids “falling behind“—whatever that means. 

Homeschooling During the Pandemic, www.marianamcdougall.com. Background photo of a boy doing homework by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Where We’re Going From Here

Because I’m high-risk and we’ve chosen to be overly cautious, we’re not doing much this summer. We’re not travelling and we won’t be going to places where people conglomerate. So we’ve decided to start the next school year earlier, and then take a 4-month vacation when the 2020-2021 year is over. If we play our cards right, we’ll be done our school year by the first of May 2021. That means we’ll have all of May, all of June, all of July, and all of August to enjoy the warmer weather and free time. With any luck, the pandemic will be over by then, and we’ll be able to do some travelling. 

My hopes for the future of Homeschooling after the pandemic

After the schools closed during the pandemic, many parents took up what they believed to be homeschooling. This was done without much warning, and most people were unprepared. As a result, many parents still have a skewed perception of what homeschooling actually is. Also, most parents were teaching their children at home but were completely isolated from any homeschooling community due to the pandemic. I really hope this doesn’t mean that people will continue to believe that homeschooled children don’t get any “socialization.” This is simply untrue. I also hope that parents who were forced into “school at home” will be a little more open to homeschooling and the different varieties it comes in. From classical to eclectic to unschooling, no homeschooling family does things exactly the same way.

Homeschooling during the pandemic became the norm, not the exception. It’s my hope that now that more people have had a chance to try different ways to educate their children, more respect will be given for the different choices parents make. It’s my hope that when I say “I homeschool my children,” it won’t be an indication that strangers can interrogate my kids on their math skills, or that people feel the need to check my qualifications. I hope that some good things will come out oft his pandemic. Because there have been enough bad things.

Why I no longer follow the Ontario Curriculum

Saying goodbye to the Ontario Curriculum

 

A year of road travel will teach you to be less rigid in your scheduling. I’ve always thought that I’m a pretty laid back person, not really prone to anxiety over small things, and that I’m flexible with my planning. While that’s all very true, I also came to the realization in the last year or so that I was way too attached to one way of doing things when it came to education. Which is ironic, since I’m a fairly eclectic homeschooling parent. But the teacher in me was still hanging on the the Ontario curriculum.

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Free Homeschooling Resources: The Ultimate List

The Ultimate List of Free Homeschooling Resources

Homeschooling can get pretty expensive when you get excited about all kinds of curriculum and when you add in all the extra-curriculars that homeschoolers love to participate in. But homeschooling doesn’t have to break the bank. In the age of information, resources are abundant, and you can learn almost anything online for free.

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Homeschooling Planning Resources

Homeschooling Planning for flexible homeschoolers

I’m starting my homeschooling planning for September. While I see the appeal and benefit of unschooling, it’s not the right choice for our family, for a variety of reasons, so we do have some planning involved in our school life.

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Homeschooling: Teaching Kids About Money

I’m starting (perhaps a wee bit late) to prep our homeschool lessons for the upcoming school year. First things first: I must remember to send our letter of intent this year. Second things second, I like creating my own curriculum, as that was my favourite thing when I was still a school teacher. Creating lesson plans is definitely part of the fun of teaching for me. I figured I might as well share my curriculum with you guys! This year, I’m doing a “home economics” curriculum, and one of its main features will be teaching kids about money management.

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Homeschooling: Brazilian Heritage Lessons

Teaching Brazilian Culture & Heritage (or not)

One of the expectations of the Ontario Elementary Curriculum in almost every grade is that children be made aware of their heritage and be encouraged in their traditions. Let me be honest: as an immigrant, homeschooling mother, I’ve been doing a terrible job of this.

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Homeschooling Posts

If you’ve been reading the blog even semi-regularly in the past year, you know that I wrote about our RV trip a lot. I also wrote about multi-niche writing quite a bit, as this is what I’d been doing as we travelled all over Canada and the US from August 2008 to the late spring of 2009. I severely neglected all other parts of this website during the past year, and I’m itching to get them going again.

One of the topics I’d like to start writing more about is homeschooling. I’d like to share some of my lesson plans with you guys, talk about the challenges and joys of homeschooling, and generally share our experience educating our kids.

While I do write for myself quite a bit (my several journals are proof), and I have lots of ideas on what to write, I want to make sure that readers are getting the most out of this blog, too. So I’d like to know: what would you like to read about homeschooling? Is there a topic in this area you really want to learn more about? Drop some suggestions in the comments or email me at mariana@dreamsintogoalswriting.com.

Homeschooling posts will come out every Thursday.