I am feeling triggered all the time right now. I scroll my feeds and check stats, and the number of infections changing by the minute triggers me, the amount of deaths triggers me, the shortage of essential medical supplies, the lack of supplies in grocery stores, the sadness, the despair, the anxiety – it all triggers me. But there is one little unassuming thing that seems to be triggering me most, and that is traditional-school parents everywhere now calling what they are doing “homeschooling”. What we are doing right now isn’t homeschooling. What you are doing right now isn’t homeschooling. What I am doing right now doesn’t remotely resemble what homeschooling has been to my family.
I am often asked why I chose to homeschool. My response is always the same – FREEDOM. There is no freedom in this crisis-schooling situation we find ourselves in. My heart hurts every time I read someone using this crisis as their sole experience and saying, “You see, I can never homeschool!” or “We are so bored of this already!”. Not to mention the news stories talking about how detrimental this will be to every student living through this “homeschooling” experience. I can see and feel that homeschooling is now covered with a shroud of negativity.
We need to change what we are calling this. I will say it again – this is not homeschooling. Homeschooling is having the freedom to choose. Freedom to choose what you are learning, freedom to choose what curriculum you use (if any), freedom to learn at home or learn at a co-op or learn with friends or learn online or learn at the park or learn at the museum or just go skateboarding or swimming at the beach or just read books. Freedom.
My family may have had a slight advantage when this pandemic came about because we do homeschool and I do work from home part of the time, but we are still struggling. In our normal lives, we are only home 2 days a week. The rest of the week is filled with friends and shared learning. I imagine that for all the fears of homeschoolers not socializing that we actually socialize more than many traditionally schooled families because we have the freedom to do so all day, any day. This is not how we homeschool, and honestly this is not how any homeschoolers I know do homeschooling (and I know hundreds).
Let’s call it something else, okay? Crisis-schooling, isolation-schooling, corona-schooling, remote schooling, anything. Let’s not give a bad rap to a beautiful choice.
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