"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times"(A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)
In any given situation, no matter how bleak it seems, there is always the possibility of good coming from it. Right now, the whole world is experiencing a very bad situation - a pandemic. Which one of us has ever, EVER been in this situation before? I'm guessing none of us. We need hope. We need to find the good that's possible in this very bad situation.
So, where is the good in all of this? Is good possible in such a bad situation?
As I was watching the local and national news coverage this past week, there were announcements of several school districts closing down across the country from the West Coast to the East Coast. The big question was, what are the parents supposed to do? How will education continue? How will students be able to learn without going to school?
As a 17-year veteran, homeschooling mom of 4, I was thrilled to see an interview with a family of three children and their mother. They were sitting at the kitchen table doing school!!! The story showed the children squabbling a bit while working on their classes. Their mom was explaining the difficulties of doing school at home and that they would figure it out because they had to. When the students were asked how they felt about doing school at home, the comments were mostly positive. They didn't mind. They were having trouble getting used to it, but they were handling it and seeing the positive in it. The only negative was that they missed their friends - oh, and one of them missed her online class, oops!
These kids and their mother were experiencing what it's like to homeschool. It was so enjoyable for me to see homeschooling happening as a mainstream experience and being shown on primetime news. This has been our life and the life of thousands of homeschooling families across the country on a daily basis for years and years. I'm thinking that one positive result of the isolation brought on by the Coronavirus could be that homeschooling will become mainstream - at least for a week or two.
It started me wondering if some of these families will find out that homeschooling is actually a great fit for them. With so many jobs offering the availability for remote work, parents may also find out that they enjoy the homeschooling process as well as the extra time spent with their children.
Of all the positive benefits of homeschooling, more time with your children is one of the best. On average, most families with two working parents only have 2-3 hours to actively engage with their children on any given weekday. This means that someone else is spending more time influencing those children than their parents who are supposed to be the most important influence in a child's life. Being at home, schooling their children, will definitely be an eye-opening and hopefully desirable and pleasant experience for these families.
Schooling at home even for just these couple of weeks will give these parents an opportunity to see what's possible, to get to know their children better due to spending more time with them and also to take an intimate role in the education of their children. In these worst of times, this forced schooling at home could possibly become the best of times for families.