I homeschooled each of my kids for a year. Well, except for August, who was expelled halfway through (family joke but also true).
My version of homeschooling was closer to unschooling. I had a blast and for the most part so did my kids. And, best of all, it did not put them at a disadvantage academically.
Were my kids yet young, there is no way in hell they’d be returning to a classroom this fall.
I understand this is complicated. Parents need to work and teachers don’t want to be out of a job either. However, bottom line, I just don’t feel it’s safe.
There is a potential solution. Education has never been equal or even adequate for many. Had I felt that it was, I would not have homeschooled nor would I have sent my youngest to an exceptional boarding school.
What if time and energy went into developing a universal curriculum? And then identifying those who are going to need additional support (whether it is supervision/childcare or access to technology). Teachers would keep their jobs but the way in which they engage with their pupils would necessarily change.
It would be an experiment of sort but just as medicine is having to adapt to the pandemic, I believe education can as well. My own experience would suggest that worst case scenario, less harm is going to be done (educationally speaking) than one might imagine.
In fact, there is the opportunity to better identify and address disparities, while also keeping our children safe. And it likely would not be that difficult to assemble a group of volunteers to work with teachers to meet children’s needs.
There is the very real possibility of reinventing education—not a bad thing. A school itself is secondary in this equation. The focus should be on best (safe) practices and finding ways to keep children interested and engaged. This is a brave new world and helping our youth adjust to this stark reality might just be the best lesson of all.