Post-Pandemic Homeschooling: What's Next?
After 16 long months, something resembling “normal” is coming back. It’s been a long haul since March 2020. Moms and dads were faced with an unexpected balancing act of work, normal parenting duties, and educating their kids in a world wherein leaving the house for supplemental educational facilities like libraries and museums and nature centers weren’t an option. It wasn’t always easy; we’re battered and battle-scarred, but education did continue. Challenges were faced and challenges were overcome as we were thrust into an unprecedented global pandemic lockdown.
21st Century Old Time Nostalgia
Yet in the grand scheme of history, it wasn’t that long ago when children were taught almost exclusively from the home or pretty near close to it. Previous generations used similar activities and tools that we have in 2021 because the basic nature of learning hasn’t changed. Is it all that different that Abraham Lincoln did his schoolwork on the back of a coal shovel and your homeschooled kid works on an iPad with a smart pencil? Writing on a tablet is universal. Perhaps Lincoln confronted the bigger learning challenge: coal shovels didn’t have autocorrect. He had to figure out spelling and math on his own.
O Brave New World
Now it’s time to move forward. In charting this unexplored territory, it’s vital that we take heed of the important lessons of the past year and half. Sarah Gorner, a leading voice in homeschooling philosophies, says that despite the many difficulties we’ve faced what comes next is ideal for taking learning to that next level. Forced into a situation outside the norm has transformed home learning and unschooling into a more individualized experience. Our kids have developed a new-found sense of individuality. That’s something to be celebrated, Gorner says. “Encourage your children to explore more independence,” she suggests. The job, Gorner emphasizes, is to strike a grounded balance as you guide your children forward. Too much independence and the kids will get overwhelmed. Too little means kids won’t be able to follow their natural instincts.
Maintaining Equilibrium in the “New Normal”
Your child will need a learning curve in the next few months. And so will you. “You’ll fail. We all do” says Gorner. But really, is that such a bad thing? “You and your child will have some horrible moments,” Gorner says. “But you’ll also have some wonderful times together as your child navigates the path to young adulthood with you at their side.” So, at last we’re getting to where we wanted to be: back to “normal,” whatever “normal” means to you. With patience, humor, a few tears, and the willingness to shift shapes now and then like an improvisational amoeba, we’ll get there and onward past that—wherever that journey leads us, however that path unfolds along the way.
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