Should I homeschool because of the COVID-19 pandemic? The coronavirus may have you questioning whether or not you want to send your kids to school. Should you homeschool because of COVID-19? This is a valid question with no right or wrong answer. This unbiased post from a former teacher turned homeschool mom and curriculum writer will guide you in making a decision that is right for your family.
The recent pandemic has shaken up the world of education. Parents are finding themselves in emergency teaching roles even when they have support and resources from the school. Teachers are having to teach their own kids and their students from home. Remote learning is not the same as being in school, and a true homeschool is different from remote learning. You may find yourself asking, “Should I homeschool because of COVID-19?”
As with any educational decision, it’s ultimately about what’s best for you and your family. There is no right or wrong answer on whether homeschool is the “right” decision. As a former teacher, I made the decision to homeschool my kindergartener beginning in August 2019- not because I am anti-public schools (quite the contrary- I love and support teachers and children in public schools). Our decision to homeschool was simply because of our current family dynamic with us both working from home, and my LOVE of teaching.
Because of my background in education and a year of homeschooling under my belt, I can offer some insight that may help as you make your decision. Here are some important questions that can guide you:
Do you or your family members have health concerns with COVID-19?
Schools are following CDC guidelines to help safely open most schools in the fall, but the fact is, you have to decide what is best for your family. If you or your child have health concerns, you may consider homeschooling in the fall. You might choose to consult with your doctor or medical professionals about risk factors and what is right for your family. If your health is a concern and you’re able to homeschool (financially and logistically), it could potentially be a good option for your family.
How did remote learning go for your family?
Consider how remote learning went for your family as part of your decision. Did it work well for your family to have everyone home? Is this something you would like to keep doing? This is one factor to remember as you make your decision, and remember that by making the decision to homeschool, you are taking remote learning a step further.
With remote learning, many families had live teaching from teachers. Remote learning can be a hybrid of resources from school, but when you decide to officially homeschool, you are responsible for at least the majority of the curriculum and resources. This can be either a perk or a drawback depending on your perspective.
If you and your child(ren) are eager to continue with teaching and learning at home but want more freedom in doing so, homeschooling may be a great fit for your family. The ability to choose your own homeschooling resources and have a consistent plan for the full year (instead of the back-and-forth that will be happening in public schools this year) may be a compelling reason to choose to homeschool.
However, if you want to continue to have support from school, homeschooling may not be for you. Many parents are feeling very burned out from the remote learning period and may not feel up to homeschooling for that reason. If your school is going back in person and you don’t feel comfortable with that, scroll to the end of this post for potential remote-learning options in your area that are still through a school where you’ll have support and resources available to you, instead of taking all of the responsibility yourself.
Does homeschooling make financial sense for your family?
What financial sacrifices will you have to make to homeschool? Will you need to quit your job, or are you able to work from home? While the average length of a homeschool day is much shorter than a public school day (for example, my son’s kindergarten homeschool took about one hour) there is a high level of time commitment and research involved with beginning a journey with homeschooling. Most importantly, homeschooling requires a parent to be home to do it (and if your child is not going to school- you’d need to find daycare if you are working outside the home when previously, school may have fulfilled that need)
If you’re reading this as one of our current followers, it is highly likely that you already a school teacher. If it is necessary for you to keep your teaching job (or any job outside the home), homeschooling may not be a good fit. Think about if being a mom, working, and homeschooling will work for you financially and with your workload. If homeschool does not make financial sense for your family, or for your own mental health, it may not be the right decision.
How will you feel if your district’s current COVID-19 plans change?
While you should definitely consider how you feel about your school’s current model while making your decision- it is important to note that the current plans are not necessarily final plans.
There are many school districts that are opening full time- but it is likely that if there is an outbreak, students will be back to remote learning or a hybrid model. If you decide to send your children because you want them in school and the schools close again, will you wish you had decided to homeschool?
There are also schools that are fully online but may choose to go back to school. How would you confront this decision if you still don’t feel comfortable sending your child back?
While I don’t share this to make you concerned, and you should not dwell on the what-ifs, these questions can weigh into your decision. If homeschool is a possibility for your family (financially and otherwise) and you or your child struggled with the unknowns, a decision to homeschool could bring more certainty into an uncertain time. That said, other students may feel the comfort of going to school as getting back to a new normal and may want to go back if the option is available. Whatever you decide, you can still change your mind mid-year if things change.
Do you have a desire to homeschool, or is health the main factor?
If you have a desire to homeschool, and concerns about COVID-19, now is a great time to try it. Since this school year is more uncertain than any other year, and there will be unique challenges whether you homeschool or send your kids to school, it could be a good idea to give it a try. You could commit to one year and then evaluate if it’s the right decision for your family. Homeschooling can be a wonderful experience for many reasons (I plan on writing a future post about this, so stay tuned, but you can do a google search to find the benefits many families experience through homeschooling such as flexible schedules, choosing your homeschooling resources, and adapting learning to your child’s unique needs and interests)
But if your main concern is exposure to COVID-19 and you plan to send your kids back as soon as all of this blows over, there may be other options. Before you make the decision to homeschool full-time, check to see what resources are available from your public school district. You may be able to use the curriculum and resources at home to teach your child. In addition, your student may be able to participate remotely in classes, even if your school is going back full time. This leads me to the next question…
Are there other remote learning options if I don’t want to homeschool long term?
If you know you don’t want to send your child to school due to health concerns, consider what your school is doing in regards to remote learning due to COVID-19. Even outside of the pandemic concerns, schools often offer resources to taxpayers who want to school their children at home part or full-time. Check into the options in your local area.
Funding for schools is usually determined by enrollment from the previous year, and if many parents pull out their kids for one year and put them back in the next, it could cause funding issues for public schools. Public schools are already underfunded, so if you know you don’t want to homeschool long-term, it’s a good idea to learn how you could get support from your school district before making a decision to temporarily homeschool. This will help your school district retain the funding that is needed for your child as they continue their education in the school system.
Making the decision to homeschool during COVID-19
As you can see, there is NO right or wrong answer for any family on whether homeschooling is the answer- not even during a pandemic! The decision is as unique as each family and each child. Consider these questions, make a pros and cons list, and talk to trusted friends and family members about the decision you are trying to make. (And if you’re a person of faith, you can always pray about the decision as well)
I hope these questions help you decide if you should homeschool because of COVID-19. If you do decide to teach from home, be sure to check out our homeschooling resources here as you start on your journey, as well as our FREE resources for homeschoolers! Stay tuned for more posts about homeschooling soon (and if you’re one of my loyal teacher followers- have no fear! Most of our posts are still geared towards our teacher audience)