Traditionally, children in Essex County have headed off to school classrooms in the fall. In the 1980s, though, a few families decided to keep their children at home and parents taught their broods themselves. The first family to homeschool in Kingsville, as far as we know, began in 1988.
This slender trend has grown over the last quarter of a century as more families have caught wind of the idea and, each for their own individual reasons, turned their attention to homeschooling.
Before the Internet became part of everyday life, homeschoolers relied on things like phone chains and support groups. Information about this alternative style of education spread by word of mouth. People passed on curriculum sources to each other. Field trips were arranged. Newsletters began to circulate to member families.
This was the reality for homeschoolers before the turn of the century.
Being able to go online has opened up the world for home educators, as it has for everyone else. Belonging to one support group, or two if you were lucky, was replaced by belonging to various Facebook groups and leaning on social media of all kinds. Families could access a multitude of websites, browse a vast array of curricula, and study different teaching/ learning styles.
Every fall, new families knock on the home education door, where they are greeted by veteran homeschoolers. The reasons for the new families turning in this direction are many.
Sometimes the turning point is a desire to spend more time as a family, to have more impact on children’s lives and learning. The parents may wish for their children to learn in ways custom-tailored to each child rather than via a common curriculum that may not be a good fit. Families may homeschool for reasons to do with their personal faith.
Some parents have never sent their children to school, having decided that this is how they want to start the journey of learning. Others take their kids out of school due to concerns about how the classroom was working out for their child. There can be a variety of other factors including such issues as learning or health disabilities.
This September, though, will perhaps see a new phenomenon. Some parents who are worried about their kids going to school in the age of COVID are opting to just … not go.
Some of these will choose the school system’s online learning, others will hire tutors, and some who would never have considered such a thing before will be teaching their own children at home.
Will home education become a major trend? No telling at this point. It is a topic that should be given some attention for families that are not happy with the other options open to them.
The months ahead will be full of surprises, twists and turns that nobody expected. Hopefully all parents and children will be able to find the solutions that will work best for them in the time of COVID.
Image by feelgoodjunkie from Pixabay