Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus Massive School Closures. Ever Considered Homeschooling?

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Education Week is reporting, in real-time, all school closures across the nation due to the coronavirus.

As of noon yesterday, there were 2,100 schools closed or scheduled to close.

Yes, some public schools are planning to continue teaching online. But are they actually set up and prepared to do so?

Their answer is, "No."

As more schools close, observers see a rise in interest in homeschooling.

Be informed.

Homeschooling may become a necessity.

Education Week reported yesterday that 2,100 schools had already closed due to the coronavirus. By the time you read this it will be more. Probably many more. The link above will take you to the latest closure numbers.

Many, probably most public school districts are ill-prepared to move to fully online learning models.

Michael Donnelly, an attorney with the Home School Defense Association (HSLDA) says this situation lends itself to a conversation about how children are educated.

His organization is seeing an increase in interest in bringing education home, as people anticipate more closures, for longer periods.

He says, "I think people are going to be confronted with a question, because education in a school may have to stop just because of the coronavirus."

He says the transition from a school to homeschooling is not nearly as difficult as parents may believe.

In fact, his organization is now providing a "quick start" guide and video with 7 steps to help parents who may be faced with the prospect of school closure and may consider this crisis situation a time to explore homeschooling as a regular education option for their children.

Donnelly says that parents who are pressed into somewhat of a homeschooling situation now because of the coronavirus crises may actually be surprised by its benefits.

He says:

We don’t know what this pandemic is going to look like. But it may end up changing people’s behavior, and as people have the opportunity to figure out education with their children, in a homeschooling context, some people, I think, are going to say, “You know this isn’t so bad; in fact, this is kind of good and I think we’re going to keep doing this.”
And I fully expect that there are going to be a lot of people who are going to point back to the coronavirus pandemic as the time when they started homeschooling and they started their homeschooling journey.

Cato Institute predicts there's going to be a lot more online public education.

Neal McCluskey, director of Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom, says lots of change happens in a crisis..."I think there is going to be a lot more homeschooling"...and public education is saying, "Well, we may have to close but we're going to try and deliver curriculum, some way online."

McCluskey, however, like Donnelly sees a distinction between emergency online school learning, done at home and parent-directed homeschooling where parents are directly involved in the curriculum.

Tina Hollenbeck, owner of the Homeschool Resource Roadmap and The Christian Homeschool Oasis, says she, too, has seen an increase in interest in homeschooling.

But she warns parents who are looking into homeschooling of the distinction between public school being done at home, and actual "homeschooling."

We insist that the clear delineation between actual, independent homeschooling on the one hand and any iteration of public-school-at-home on the other be strictly maintained. Those who are considering homeschooling in response to this health concern – or for any other reason – need to be clear that real homeschooling is its own distinct legal entity under state law and that it does not involve getting “free” resources or “stipends” from the government. Families must know that if they sign up for any sort of “free,” government-sponsored program, it is not homeschooling; it is simply exchanging brick-and-mortar public school for virtual public school. Some parents will choose that route and that’s their right; they must not be led to believe, though, that using virtual public school is homeschooling. It is not. We must be very vigilant to insist that the legal distinctions are not blurred so that bureaucrats do not use this situation to try justifying added regulation on actual homeschoolers.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of homeschoolers more than doubled between 1999 and 2012, from 850,000, or 1.7% of K-12 students, to 1.8 million children, or 3.4% of school-aged children.

Why I personally believe every Christian family should consider homeschooling.

Justin Haskins recently wrote an article for Townhall titled, "America's Public Schools Have Become Socialist Indoctrination Factories."

Using Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, as a recent, visible example of the product of public education, he notes that she wants to insert government into every aspect of your life, from education to healthcare, to the kind of car you drive---and she's not alone.

While she and Bernie Sanders may be failing in their attempt to beat Joe Biden in the Democrat presidential campaign, she and Bernie's ideology is, unfortunately, winning converts in public schools.

Recent studies show that registered Democrats outnumber Republicans at 51 of America's leading liberal arts colleges by a ratio of 10.4 to 1.

Leading, recognized experts in public education are now rethinking our public model for education, because it isn't working.

Auguste Meyrat is a leading expert on publication. In his article, "How Public Schools Indoctrinate Kids Without Almost Anyone Noticing," he says "teaching the value of free thought matters now more than ever: Unfortunately, most American public schools take the opposite approach."

The New Testament teaches us to "train up" our own children, in the way they should go. True Christian education doesn't merely teach what to believe---it teaches why---based on God's unchanging Truth.

Public education, linked to the entertainment industry and a timid Christian Church that is desperately trying to "relate" to the culture when it should be "transforming " it through the power of the gospel, has created a fertile ground for secularism, humanism, and progressivism to mentally and spiritually kidnap our children.

Deuteronomy (6: 5-8) tells parents to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength"...and to teach these disciplines to our children.

We are instructed to teach them diligently, talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.

We're told to embed these principles and beliefs into the child's mind and heart---even write them on the doorposts of your home and on the gates.

This doesn't match up very well with inserting our kids into a yellow bus and trusting public education to be our surrogate.

I understand the ramifications of homeschooling---financial and otherwise. But coronavirus has impacted every aspect of our life. And it may have also been a wake-up nudge to reconsider just how we are "training up" our kids.

I sincerely hope so.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.