January 2021 will bring the largest growth to home schooling, ever.
COVID-19 vaccines are close to distribution in the U.S., but cases continue to climb. Nearly 20,000 deaths have been reported in Florida alone, and there is immense uncertainty surrounding the long-term consequences of this virus. It will likely be quite some time before we achieve normalcy, and some parents who remain loyal to their school district’s plans now question their decision.
But the parents who chose to home-school tell a different story. On a daily basis, I hear how home schooling alleviated much of the stress caused by the pandemic. Recent studies only reinforce my anecdotal evidence. A national poll conducted by the National Federation of Children at the end of May revealed that 40% of families are more likely to home-school or enroll their children in a virtual school after the pandemic. Another study conducted by EdChoice released in September revealed that 23% of parents who were not home schooling before the pandemic indicated that they are “very likely” to do so after lockdowns end. In that same EdChoice study, parents also agreed that virtual schools outperformed brick-and-mortar schools when it comes to “clear communication, classroom management and sound instructional practices.”
While many of these families initially turned to online learning platforms out of desperation, they now stay for the myriad lifestyle and educational benefits that come with home schooling. Parents tell me how the experience has made them better listeners, or they share how it’s given their children confidence and independence. By becoming more involved in their children’s learning process, they have found freedom in the flexibility to focus on deficits or reinforce strengths, schedule lessons at times best suited for their child, and align real-world experiences with coursework. They convey the same revelation: Education is not a place or a building, but rather a dynamic process that can happen anywhere, at any time.
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