The nitty-gritty on the back-to-school debate

July 13, 2020

back-to-schoolWhat if kids don’t go back to school?

What if parents don’t want to take the risk that their kids will get sick or even carry Covid back to them or other family members?

Will children be scarred for life? I don’t see how. Hear me out:

Kids have been homeschooled –many in remote communities without neighbors — for hundreds of years without adverse effect. I am completely flummoxed by parents who insist that their kids will be adversely impacted by not being able to socialize at school. It’s not even in the realm of realistic.

Would they still believe that if they knew their child would either get Covid or give it to them or another family? How did Anne Frank’s family feel when they had to hide for two years? This is all about trump wanting to do something to restart the economy so his candidacy looks better. He doesn’t care about kids, their health or our health. It’s all about him. Don’t fall for it.

I wanted to know more about the homeschool option, being a problem-solver at heart.

Recognizing that some parents simply must go to work, I wondered why several parents with similar “safe” values for their families couldn’t band together and form a home school “co-op,” even using weekend days as two of the five school days so every parent would have a turn at schooling. Apparently this is an actual “thing.”  For many parents who work, this could be a lifesaver. Literally.

Today, my friend Jess, an experienced home educator who has studied child development, weighs in, below. And she offers helpful resources:

Here’s the deal. A clear fact is that structure is awesome for healthy brain development.

Also, our brain in its most primitive state is wired not for joy but for survival.

Before the age of 3, toddlers are forming something like 100 billion neurons in their brain.

Before the age of 24, our minds are making so many new neural connections each day that we are more than two times more adaptable to change than adults. That’s because learning is easier.

This is why youth are resilient.

back to schoolKeeping those facts in mind…there will be no way that our kids come out of this COVID pandemic without collateral damage.

That is unavoidable. But:

Sending them back to school (rip the bandaid, business as usual style) in an effort to reinforce structure and familiarity six months after the fact is not a fix.

In fact, for some kids it may actually detract from the “quick fix happy button” the general public seems to be aiming to achieve.

Trust me, we are more scared for them than they are for themselves.

For over 180 days they have been forming multiple new neural pathways each of those days. They have been adapting to more time with family. More time at home. More time in leisure and informal learning environments.

They will not be going back to the same teacher. They will not be going back in the same standards. Nor will they be going back to the same classroom or atmosphere. And whether we like it or not, this has changed them. They will not be going back as the same people they were before.

As parents we can’t fix this. Well, not in the, “it never happened” sense, anyway. But we can assure that we show them how to adapt to crisis, trauma, and change healthily.

We can invite their honest feelings into daily conversation and teach them coping mechanisms for stress.

Let’s be sure the good that comes from these tumultuous times are healthy children that can say I am a ‘survivor’ instead of, I was a ‘voiceless victim’.

As it stands today, there are parents that need round the clock childcare. They must go to work.

However, if you can homeschool, making that choice will reduce the risk for that family, the teachers, and an entire faculty that have no other choice.

(Note from Carol: this is so important to remember! Now back to Jess and the resources she offers:)

I am here to help:

Talking to our kids about their feelings & coping info here.

Curious about what homeschooling options are out there? Visit here.

Have developmental hesitations about homeschool?   Read Overcome the Stigma here.

Bonus: Think Your Kids have nothing to gain from those Video Games you have felt guilty about since quarantine this March? Let me ease your mind with this information.   

About the author. Jess has been a home educator for nearly five years in the state of Florida. She believes children grow more healthily when encouraged to think critically and creatively in their learning environments. She has a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University where she studied Child Development and Multi-disciplinary Education. She is graduating from her Masters program this upcoming November.

Agree or disagree, we welcome your thoughts on this vital issue in the Comments section. Thank you!

9 comments on “The nitty-gritty on the back-to-school debate
  1. Diane says:

    As a child raised on a ranch with ONLY a family influence for large chunks of my life, I see so much good from children spending time at home. Learning at home. I know my story is simplistic compared to the warring demands on a child in the modern day, but it certainly worked well for me and my siblings. We learned self reliance. And independance. And, interestingly, interdependence. It was an idyllic way to grow up!

  2. I think there is a big difference between temporarily schooling at home and home schooling as a long term commitment. I felt that my boys would benefit from a classroom environment for a number of reasons. But I live in a state that never closed down and limited testing, Our schools are reopening in a month and I just told my boys that if they were still school aged, they would not be returning to the classroom, not on day 1, anyway..

    • There is just too much unknown at this point.

    • Jess says:

      There IS such a difference between the two. And there is also a difference in homeschooling today as opposed to just a couple of years ago.

      I was honestly so looking forward towards my first year in 8 years of all the kids being in public school. A year to myself to finish my masters degree, and just breathe.

      But living in Florida, where the surge is just continuously growing one day over the other, I just couldn’t even fathom pushing them back into the school system today when I have a choice.

      • Jennifer says:

        There is a huge difference in homeschooling now as opposed to the 1990’s and early 2000’s. I can’t believe the amount of material that’s available now. It would have been so much better for my son.

  3. Rena says:

    Our two will be homeschooled probably from now on. We took them out in March and together (their mom, dad and us) sat down and figured out how to divy it up so to speak. My daughter will teach them about money, math, Science my son-in-law does reading, writing etc. My husband teaches them about sports, forestry and I am gardening and history. We will each take a day. Of course, that’s after I get better. In the fall.

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