Remote learning vs homeschooling
Wait, you mean they’re not the same thing?
After your experience of suddenly overseeing your children’s education at home via remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic, you might be thinking that “homeschooling” is definitely not for you.
If remote learning is your idea of homeschooling, then you can’t be blamed. And if you’re in lockdown for the second time, you might be feeling pretty stressed about it; it’s a sure way to fast-track burnout. The key to understanding what homeschooling really is, and to make it work, is to understand the differences between remote learning and home education.
Thankfully, “homeschooling” and “remote learning” are not the same thing.
Remote learning is done under the auspices of a “school” that employs teachers on your behalf to deliver education to your child. The teachers/school control the curriculum, plan the lessons, send them to your home and expect you, the parent, to administer and oversee the work. The parent has no control over what work is assigned and with no prior knowledge or opportunity to prepare. Often, deadlines are set so progress can be made. It’s a case of a school in your house.
Home Education (traditionally known as “homeschooling”) is done by the parent who chooses the education method, style and curriculum for the overall education of their own child. The parent has full knowledge of what is being taught and prepares accordingly. They make the decisions and have the liberty to be flexible and agile about how, when and where their child learns and can tailor it to suit their situation. You are a family, not a school.
Being in control of your child’s learning plan is the one thing that will determine whether at-home or home-based learning will work for your family.
How to make homeschooling work
Transitioning from a school environment and being subject to a curriculum you didn’t write to the freedom of homeschooling can be overwhelming at first. You will feel pressure to keep up with the Australian Curriculum, and state registration requirements, not to mention social interaction (what is that these days, anyway?).
Here are a few things to consider that may help you with your decision.
Many families find a “deschooling” period beneficial for their child when transitioning from a school regime to be educated from home by their parents. Allowing your child time to adjust to a new way of learning, perhaps unwinding from a stressful situation and re-engaging with parents are some of the things that parents find their child needs.
Your child’s needs will differ from others’, and that’s the point. Give yourselves time to explore ideas and resources, and relax for a while.
Deschooling is not a time to let discipline go out the window, however. Maintaining good habits will go a long way in making home education workable and productive.
I’m going to say something that might sound strange, and even more stressful – the Australian Curriculum is your bottom line, not your standard to climb to. Remember, the AC is just a baseline.
What if your child is below the AC standard? Perhaps traditional schooling has not worked for your child. If you are intending to homeschool and have registered with your state authority, you will have some idea of what to do. The main point of all homeschooling authorities is to see that the child is learning.
Grade levels are all well and good, but tailored education by definition will not necessarily fit into boxes set by others. Your efforts in teaching will need to show improvement and progress in your child.
The AC is not a difficult standard and indeed, many home educators excel it. Good curriculum and attentive teaching are the key.
You don’t have to be “qualified” to teach your own child
As a parent, in my experience and that of other home educators I know, you have a couple of unique advantages to teaching and learning – a loving attachment and unconditional commitment to your child.
These are powerful motivators and allow you to truly get control of your child’s education. Trust yourself. Trust your child. Many have gone before you and succeeded. Connect to other homeschooling families and get ideas and advice.
I recently read a couple of inspiring stories of families who have made homeschooling work for them during the pandemic and how some are continuing to homeschool after the pandemic. I hope they inspire you, too.
And if you’re wondering what is happening in the world with almost every student being educated at home right now, and what the future might hold, have a read of this inspiring article by long time homeschool educator, Davis Carman from Apologia Educational Ministries. Here’s a quote to finish off:
Homeschooling was already one of the most significant social, cultural, and educational movements of the last fifty years. Although a relatively small number of students and families were riding this wave prior to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst turning the homeschooling movement into a tidal wave of epic proportions. It’s likely to lead the way during the next fifty years.
Will you be riding this educational wave smiling and shouting “cowabunga” or will you be treading water, meandering, lost and adrift at sea? You can’t stop this wave, but you can ride it. And if you do, I predict you will look back and say it was one of the best decisions you ever made for yourself, your kids, and your family.
If you are wanting more information on homeschool resources and requirements, read our other article below.