introducing how we homeschool: a series

photo credit: my younger daughter
 

Over the summer a friend (no idea which one — sorry, friend!) suggested that I write a blog series profiling homeschooling families. With so many children being educated from home, she said, it might be helpful to hear from experienced homeschoolers. 

At first I was hesitant. In the beginning when Covid hit and schools shut down, it bugged me to hear everyone refer to themselves as “homeschoolers.” For me, homeschooling was an intentional lifestyle choice rooted in freedom, not to be confused with being confined at home all day washing our hands nonstop. This parenting-in-a-pandemic thing was not normal for us, either. 

The whole situation got my panties in such a twist that I even wrote an op-ed about it. Being forced to stay at home full time with one’s kids because of a pandemic is not homeschooling, I ranted: It’s parenting in the midst of a global crisis. And supervising school-mandated assignments is not homeschooling; it’s helping with homework.

Nobody snatched the piece up though (sniff), which was probably just as well because then, a few weeks later, I was like, “Hang on. If anyone’s homeschooling, it’s these pandemic homeschoolers because they are, quite literally, doing school at home.” If anyone was misnamed, I realized, it was us, the pre-pandemic homeschoolers, aka the dinosaurs. (What should we be called? I’ve been pondering this for ages, and have no idea. Help me out, people.)

And even while I was getting all worked up about our fringe lifestyle getting co-opted, at least in name, by the mainstream — Who would’ve thunk it! — I knew I wasn’t being entirely fair. The divide between schooling and homeschooling has never been clearcut. Schooled kids study at home with their parents’ help. They learn via all sorts of nonschool activities like clubs, community volunteering, jobs, and voracious reading, same as homeschooled kids. And homeschooled kids, in turn, often enroll in actual school courses.

There’s no one right way to homeschool. 

So here’s the thing: As Covid has drug on, more and more parents, worried about contagion and frustrated with the switch to virtual learning (and its accompanying many hours of screen time), have bailed on school — some just for the year, others maybe for longer. Some parents are even beginning to question the value of school, an institution they’ve always taken for granted. They’re starting to ask hard questions about what they want their children’s learning to look like, and to make changes accordingly.

But should I host a blog series as my friend suggested? The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Homeschoolers are a wildly diverse bunch, and showcasing a few of them might help make the transition to homeschooling easier for all these newcomers. If nothing else, interviewing a bunch of interesting people would be a heck of a lot of fun for me.

And that, my friends, is how my new blog series — that I am oh-so creatively calling “The Homeschool Series” — was born. 

If you’ve signed off of school-sanctioned learning temporarily (or indefinitely, or forever, whatever) OR if you’re considering doing so OR if you’re just curious about what life without school looks like, this series is for you. I’ve got a bunch of people queued up for the next few weeks and months, ready to tell the nitty-gritty of homeschooling.

Stay tuned! 

This same time, years previous: study stills, the quotidian (11.12.18), enough, for now, George Washington Carver sweet potato soup with peanut butter and ginger, butternut squash galette with caramelized onions and goat cheese, refrigerator bran muffins, sparkle blondies.

8 Comments

  • kay saylor

    It is an on-point topic for sure. I think it is so individual to each circumstance and a sensitive topic (as so many things are right now). I am interested to read your series, as I know you will approach it in an inclusive and kind manner.

  • Lizzy

    I ranted at length at assignments sent home with all material provided, and assistance online being called homeschooling when it wasn't. Crisis schooling yes, homeschooling – as conventionally understood, no. I wept as relatives sat there 5 year olds at a desk from 9 – 3 with 45 mins for lunch – because that's what they do in school! (And my years of early years ed' experience as a teacher counted for nothing, or my pleas!) My two homeschooled young peeps are now at college, but I'm excited to read!!!

  • Anna

    Ooh, I’m excited for this series (and for your new format/commenting form)! I’m a Pandemic Homeschooler. My daughter is a Kindergartener, and I just couldn’t face having her start school on a screen, or go in person and then be crushed when school inevitably closed again. Of course it’s a privilege to be able to make this choice- I was already home with her and her 2.5 year old sister. It’s going well so far, she’s making progress and I am enjoying it more than I expected. Right now, I expect and hope to send her to school for first grade, but I do look forward to reading what you have to say about homeschooling!

  • Derrelyn Phelps

    I love your blog and your recipes and I’m so sad I can’t access any of it anymore. I promise I’m not a crazy person (is that just what not so nice people say?).

    • Jennifer Murch

      Derrelyn, hello! My blog was down over the weekend (my brother’s doing an overhaul for me), but you should be able to access them now. Check the top, under the header, for the recipe index. (And if accessing the blog from a phone, look for the down arrow in the top center, right under my header.) Let me know if you continue to have problems!

  • Margo

    Excited for this series! I love how you run your show, so I hope you are going to be one of the showcases?? We have always taught our kids stuff outside their public-school hours. Now I am homeschooling my kindergartner entirely because I couldn’t bear the screen time that comes with traditional school these days. But it’s very hard to compare school these days to anything pre-covid because we have so little access to other people except with a screen or nice weather outside. . .

  • Laurie Lasala-Tuttle

    Even though my own kids are older, I look forward to reading your new series! Thanks for all of your hard work!

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