Home-schooled Part Three

Home-schooled Part Three

Home-schooled Part Three

Welcome back to part three of our miniseries, Home-schooled. 

In Home-schooled part one, we touched on the overall aspects of getting into a “new normal.” In part two, we looked at how parents are dealing with their new work-from-home situation. This week, in Home-schooled part three we look at how this extended break from formal educational settings will affect our children.

Long term school closings

Across the USA, the coronavirus pandemic has shut down schools until further notice. When will that notice be? No one really knows yet. As parents do their best to help their children with their school work, the odds are against them. 

Brian Gill, a co-author of the Online Charter Study, wrote that “challenges in maintaining student engagement are inherent in online instruction.” Without classroom interactions, children get distracted and become uninterested. Children need interactions, and I’m not just talking about a finger to screen or keys. Social interactions help children develop a wide array of skills. These skills are very difficult to attain outside a group setting. 

Kevin Huffman of The Washington Post stated, “The United States is embarking on a massive, monthslong virtual-pedagogy experiment, and it is not likely to end well. Years of research shows that online schooling is ineffective — and that students suffer significant learning losses when they have a long break from school.” 

The Summer Slide

Huffman said, “the “summer slide” has been studied for decades, and researchers know that students fall backward in learning from where they were at the end of the school year.” If we know that there is already a significant part of students who are behind after a few weeks off school, what impact will almost half a year have on them? This break in schooling, will affect an entire generation.

Andrew Rotherham believes that we should cancel part of the summer and get kids back to school. He also knows that ideas will probably gain backlash by many. He said in his post, Why America’s Schools Should Stay Open This Summer, “Lost in the conversation are all the kids who were sent home with packets to work on because there is no online learning plan. Or with nothing at all. And all the students for whom online learning isn’t an option because of their own lack of access to the internet, computers, or both.” 

I couldn’t agree more with him. While many schools have worked tirelessly to prepare material and make sure it reaches most of their students, there is always the exception. There will always be a group of students who do not have access to those materials or the guidance they need. We can’t just let them fall behind. 

It’s not all bad news. 

On the bright side, in the here and now, many parents I spoke with had very positive things to say about their kids and are grateful to be healthy. 

One mother said, “They are a lot like me. We love to be busy and run. So that being said, we are going a little crazy having to stay out. We are blessed to have a home, food, and each other.” 

Another mom said that “We are all doing great. I have to remember that this is all new for (my daughter), too and that she misses her friends and teacher.” 

I even heard the response,” (The kids are doing) better than anticipated.”

We must keep our heads up and look toward the future. We mustn’t hasten to mass gather before it’s safe. The coronavirus pandemic and economic disaster it is causing will be written into the books. Let us stay positive and make assertive contributions on how to mitigate and lessen the adverse effects on our children’s education moving forward. 

Stay tuned for Home-schooled Part four, the last part of our miniseries, next week. 

May you be filled with energy, great ideas, and the motivation to accomplish whatever you set your mind to this week.

Emily Bowman

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