Response from Lauren Schmitz, founder and blogger, thesimplehomeschooler.com
I am getting ready to start my fourth year of homeschooling and I specialize in helping families get started with homeschooling.
I have seen a huge (rather predictable) surge in my blog traffic and email subscriber list since coronavirus – as have all of my homeschool blogging friends at iHomeschoolNetwork.
When the Coronavirus epidemic has passed, I think the landscape of education will have changed, but not as significantly as you are proposing.
Teachers and schools being forced to put together a framework for online learning will now be a blueprint for future snow days, blizzard warning, extended illnesses, or any other disasters. As opposed to scheduling school out into the summer, school will be done at home. And everyone will be much more accustomed to the idea.
But, classroom instruction will absolutely not go away. Parents will need to work, now more than ever, as we recover from the economic issues caused by the pandemic. As much as I wish homeschooling and distance learning could work for everybody, it’s not reality.
Younger kids especially need interaction and hands on learning to internalize new concepts such as reading and math. Older students may also struggle with the loneliness of distance learning and disconnect from other students and teachers.
What about students that can’t afford to have a computer at home? Or afford wifi?
What do we do with special needs children who require learning assistance?
What about students who depend on school to provide their meals during the day?
And let us not forget that school is much more than the academic side of things. What about sports? Band practice? Choir? Shop class? Student government? School plays? There are many things offered in school these days that could never be translated over a computer.
I have listened to people talk for years about how homeschooling could never work because of the “socialization” issues. I am an engaged parent who has tons of time to ensure my 8, 6, and 4 year old are properly socialized. Will that be true of every other parent? I don’t think so. For many reasons. Going to completely online schooling will continue the social issues that already plague our society.
That being said, I do think the rates of homeschoolers will continue to rise as they have for years. I work with parents who are struggling with making the final decision to start homeschooling, and I think coronavirus is the catalyst that will push many of them to finally start their homeschools. Once they finally start, they will enjoy all the benefits of teaching their children at home, and stick with it.
Parents who had no intention of homeschooling, will likely go right back to life as normal as soon as possible.
I do believe that colleges may use more of an online presence.- if a situation presents itself that requires distance learning. But I think colleges will stay predominately the same. Why? Now more than ever, adults want to be together. We want to talk, debate, bounce ideas off each other, get together after class, and form study groups. When the restrictions for corona virus are lifted, I can’t imagine colleges continuing the with the painful social distancing we have already endured.