Homeschooling – A tug of war between education and a loving relationship

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Due to the disruption of COVID-19, Ontario’ school system has become a chaos. Parents are frustrated, students are confused, and teachers are stressed. To not further jeopardize children’s learning, one option which parents have considered is homeschooling. Teaching your own kids at home could become an extra burden on top of the regular routine of parenting. Let’s find out if homeschooling is a good option for you.

The beginning of the war

The dad is just about to step into the house after work and he hears the kids screaming. He turns the door knob and opens the door. The 5 year old and the 7 year old are sitting in the middle of the living room, pulling each other’s hair, with toys all over the floor. The dad just zones out. This scene is almost the same, day after day.

Being responsible for parenting is already a challenge for many parents. It could be overwhelming when parents are with the kids all day and feel the heavy weight of being responsible for their education amid COVID-19.

The courageous path to homeschooling

As COVID cases rise, many parents who started the year with their children in in-person school classes have switched to virtual classes. Regardless of in-person or virtual instruction, teachers face challenges to effectively deliver the school curriculum with an absence of a typical classroom environment. And parents find their children struggling to learn either at home or in school. As an alternative, some parents are ahead of the curve considering homeschooling. They feel the urge to step up to a role that not all parents wanted to do – teacher.

Homeschooling is a term to describe parents taking sole responsibility to educate their children at home instead of sending them to school. There are different approaches to homeschooling, depending on the family’s values and teaching philosophy, and the learning style of the children. 

Some benefits of homeschooling include:

  • Cultivate closer family bonds 
  • Allow greater flexibility and creativity in structure and schedule
  • Tailor made educational materials, based on child’s interests and abilities
  • More relaxed and natural learning environment which promote child’s learning readiness 
  • No peer pressure and a less competitive learning environment

Homeschooling is a legal practice in Ontario and it is governed by the Education Act. The unschooling process may start with writing a letter of intent to the child’s homeschool. Homeschoolers in Ontario are not required to follow any particular curriculum. Parents may choose to follow the Ministry of Education’s Ontario curriculum guidelines in case the child may eventually transition back to the public school system. Otherwise, parents are free to adopt or develop their own curriculum which they find most suitable for their children.   

Making the decision to homeschool requires a leap of faith. If you want to test the water before committing to it, you may first try reteaching your kids on what they have already learnt from school. Many parents have switched to virtual learning amid COVID. If you are one of them, you can take advantage of it. With virtual learning, school teachers have been posting homework and teaching materials online, intended to help parents to support their children’s virtual learning. You can use those materials as reference and teach your kids on a specific topic. If possible, you may join the virtual classes together with the kids and follow along with the lessons, where you can observe how the school teachers present an idea, explain a concept, and manage the virtual classroom. 

One of the challenges of virtual learning is to lecture the children about how they need to treat virtual lessons the same as actual in-class instructions. For example, children need to be reminded to respect the virtual classroom time and should not go to grab a drink from the refrigerator in the middle of a lesson. Establish boundaries and set rules to keep the children focused during their lessons also applies to homeschooling.

There could be joy in the journey of homeschooling, but getting your kids to learn and complete schoolwork is a constant battle. Parenting and teaching are totally different ball games. Before the kids can learn, you need to first manage to get them in the right vibe and establish the right learning environment. When you are wearing the teacher’s hat, your kids have to actually perceive you as a teacher and not their parents. In addition, you need to be comfortable with the subject matter, in which you have a good grasp of the material and be able to explain to your kids in ways which they can understand.

Winning the battle

After all, parents want to provide the best when it comes to education and they are courageous in taking up the responsibility. However, many parents are at risk of becoming exhausted and drained in their journey of teaching their own children in addition to working from home and/or managing regular housework. Teaching is an art and it is not for everyone. If you find yourself struggling on the teaching path and don’t want to jeopardize the loving relationship with your kids, you should consider outsourcing the role of teacher.

All of TeachRequest’s tutors are Ontario certified teachers. They are familiar with the Ontario curriculum and capable of filling in the learning gaps. They are trained to develop lesson plans and use different teaching strategies to engage the kids in their learning. Having a trustworthy educator to provide the educational support and relieve yourself of the educator role could be a prudent option. At the end of the day, you desire to live through from chaos to bliss and enjoy your family life to the best.