COVID-19 has changed society in many ways. While the temporary shuttering of business doors and the widespread wearing of masks are some of the most noticeable changes, society is evolving in more subtle ways as well.
Parents and families have been forced to make some big decisions, including whether to continue sending their kids to school in such uncertain times.
Many parents (including my husband and I) have chosen to send their kids back to school and hope for the best while preparing for the worst. Others have opted to try online learning programs. But there is a third group of parents who have joined the 2020 homeschooling movement.
Two local moms were kind enough to sit down with me and give me a glimpse into their lives as brand-new homeschooling parents.
Anna Allred lives in Santaquin and never imagined she would homeschool her children. She said COVID-19 and her husband’s encouragement were two huge factors in her decision to bring her kids home this year. But diving into homeschool has proven to be challenging.
Allred explained that she has a lot of self-doubt that she is trying to overcome. She also stated that finding the right curriculum at first was challenging, because there are so many options out there. But with a lot of research, she finally figured out what path she wanted to take. Now that she’s a couple of months into it, she’s realizing that the flexibility of homeschooling is freeing.
S“We’ll get up and eat breakfast and do chores or we can start right into school, or some days we go to the park or just take a walk. It’s so nice to be able to choose what we’re doing.”
Jessica Brown, from Springville also decided to homeschool her children this year. While COVID-19 helped influence her decision, she said that bullying was one of the biggest factors. It seemed to follow her children from school to school, even after they moved from Cedar City to Springville.
“Taking the leap of faith is not an easy thing to do,” she said.
Like Allred, she too had doubts about her ability to teach her children at home, but it’s a decision she doesn’t regret making.
Brown related that there are so many options for homeschooling families today, and that she and her husband put great thought into their kids’ futures. Through her research, she’s discovered that BYU likes to take homeschool students, and there’s also the option of the BYU Pathway program or technical schools. Brown stated “we are just blessed to live now. I’m so grateful for it.”
Allred plans to send her kids back to school next year, but doesn’t know for sure what will happen. Brown has decided to take on the challenge of homeschooling for the long term. Both parents have similar advice for anyone considering temporary or permanent homeschooling: make sure you have a good support group.
Join online homeschool groups and find other homeschooling parents in your neighborhood. Learning from the experiences of others can help you tackle the challenge successfully. (Peterson is a Serve Daily contributor.)