By Deborah Palmer, Citizens for Constitutional Government / July 30, 2020

Many parents experienced a fair amount of frustration with the quality of education or the amount of screen time their children received during Covid-schooling.  Kids just did not want to sit in front of a screen for the amount of time required, teachers could not effectively gage understanding, children felt they weren’t heard, and there wasn’t sufficient help time.  All this and more led to the complete disgust of Covid-schooling by parents and children alike.  It took me about 1 week of Covid-schooling for my son before I took him off completely and asked for worksheets that I could do at our own pace.  But those worksheets were not required to be turned in and they seemed silly time fillers rather than academically relevant.  Many parents experienced similar experiences all leading to a distaste for Covid-schooling that will likely remain all their lives.  

I had a rather large influx in parents asking about alternatives to Covid-schooling.  Now that face masks and shields, plexiglass, temperature checks, 6 feet spacing, and overly sanitizing will be implemented in the fall, parents are extremely interested in avoiding that drama and looking for another way to educate their children.  Because of the enormous influx in this line of questioning I have decided to host an event that will give an insight into homeschooling.  There are as many ways to homeschool as there are grains of sand in the sea.  We will attempt to paint a picture of what that can look like.  Parents can be as structured or as unstructured as they like.  There is no need to sit with your child for 6 hours a day in order for them to be educated.  What if I told you that you could finish your school day for your elementary child in 2 hours?  What would your child like to do for the rest of the day? What passions and interests could they fill their time with? Would they enjoy a park date with a neighbor friend? Would they like to see a documentary? Would they enjoy a visit to a local museum or library? Would they rather color or paint or play with play dough? Would they play games and use their imagination? All of those activities are excellent and would also help in teaching your child some idea or other.  

You don’t have to know in order to teach.  There is curriculum out there made just for parents who don’t know everything about everything.  Believe me when I tell you, you are not alone! You are not the only parent who feels they can’t teach because they didn’t go to school for this, or because they don’t know enough to teach all subjects at all levels.  Curriculum developers know this.  There is history and science curriculum that you read and learn and watch videos along with your child.  There are math videos to instruct your child.  There are experts out there anxious to help.  There is language arts curriculum with videos and jingles and chants to help your child learn.  You will have what you need! You don’t need to have a degree, or experience, or even the knowledge ahead of your child.  Learning along with them will give you the opportunity to reinforce subjects during the day as you’re driving, or over dinner.  

Many people tend to compartmentalize their lives.  Church, school, and home time are all separate and exist in their separate spheres that do not overlap.  Homeschool is an extension of parenting.  Does one day of parenting look like the next day of parenting? Does your parenting look like your neighbor’s parenting? Quite simply, no.  Since homeschooling is an extension of parenting, each day may be different and your homeschool philosophy and procedures will be different then your neighbors.  For example, we may be having a science lesson one day and one child is rude to another or hits his brother.  We stop the science lesson, talk about how that is in appropriate, give a life lesson, maybe send one to his room, or perhaps we don’t get to visit the library that afternoon.  Maybe we complete the science lesson that day, or perhaps we wait till the next day to finish it.  

There is a plethora of books, podcasts, web sites, Facebook support groups, commonwealths, co-ops and parent retreats available to support those who choose the homeschool route.  I have heard that the St. George homeschool support community is larger than the SLC support community.  I don’t know how true that is, but I can say that our support community is engaging, helpful, kind, and has a heap of resources for both the new and trepid and the seasoned homeschooler.  There are Facebook pages for buying and selling homeschool curriculum, field trip groups, teen field trip groups, proms, support groups, play dates.  

The bottom line and most important message I would give to parents considering an alternative to Covid-schooling, in both its in-school format and its distance learning format, is YOU CAN DO THIS! There will be frustrations, this comes any time you start a new job.  But you will find your rhythm and come to know your children in a way you never thought possible.  You will grow and learn with them.  The ups and downs are just like parenting.  We mess up and have regrets along with the proud mommy moments and success stories.  Take the leap.  People have been doing it for centuries.  It’s a proven science.  Enough of this experiment we call common core! Take the ropes and teach your child.  Even the worst day of homeschool is better than a day in public school, because you spent time with your child.  I will be surprised if you don’t end up loving it!