Remember the good old days…like, a few months ago…when COVID case numbers were falling, when people were out and about and enjoying themselves again, when things were so close to being back to normal? I miss those days already.
Here we are, mere months later, and COVID cases are rising dramatically across the country, especially among children. Mask mandates are back in place in most areas. Vaccination proof or regular COVID testing is rapidly becoming a requirement in many places of business and institutions. And it seems like a matter of when, not if, restrictions are ordered again.
Despite this pandemic rollercoaster that we’ve all been riding for about 18 months (and desperately want to jump off), schools have been nearly unanimous nationwide when it comes to opening schools fully in person, on time, and in some cases without restrictions. Most states are mandating masks in schools, though there are a few who refuse to put a mandate in place–even going so far as to withhold desperately needed funding from districts who decide on their own to mandate masks in schools.
Why are parents reluctant about sending their children back to school in-person?
No matter where your opinion may fall, we can all agree we want to keep our children (and school staff) safe. We also now know that the whiplash of being in class, then out, then hybrid, then back again takes a toll on students and families.
So, what options do these parents have? While some families feel secure enough in what their school districts are doing to keep their kids safe, there is a sizable contingent who are not comfortable with the idea of full-time, in-person schooling. And there are plenty of valid reasons why.
- Their children are not vaccinated, either by choice or because they haven’t reached the minimum age requirement of 12 years.
- The Delta variant has proven to be extremely contagious, even among those fully vaccinated, and especially among children.
- They have children or other immediate family members who are immuno-compromised, meaning there’s an increased risk of a child bringing COVID home and infecting other family members.
The problem for the 2021-22 school year is families’ choices have been limited. Many school districts are not offering a full-time virtual learning option like they did last year. Or, the virtual options that were available a few months ago had a deadline that has long since passed. The families who decided against them made that choice because COVID cases were waning at the time.
Now, the school year is here. The Delta variant is here. And, our children are…where?. It’s either learn in the school building or find your own source of education for most. It truly is that black and white. And that is why more families are taking back control. They know the benefits of schooling from home. They also know the difficulties. What they may not know is that those difficulties turn into advantages the moment they decide to homeschool. There is a difference when you work with seasoned homeschooling academies who have helped students thrive beyond even traditional schooling.
Why homeschooling is such an appealing option
It’s too early to say what the projected numbers will be, but it won’t be surprising to find out later in the school year that the percentage of children homeschooling in the United States has grown even more than the 19.5% that were homeschooled by May 2021 (homeschooling defined here as a child taught at home but not enrolled in a public or private school).
Why? There are plenty of reasons. We’ll look at a few.
- Consistency. The bottom line is, no one really knows what this school year is going to look like. Will in-person classes continue uninterrupted through the entire year? Or will on-off closures result in more hybrid learning or all-virtual school? We don’t know, which is part of the anxiety people (especially children) are experiencing. And quite frankly, they are exhausted. Who wants to go to bed every night wondering where school is going to be the next day? With homeschooling, that’s not even a thought. Your child always knows where school is, and you don’t have to make on-the-fly adjustments to different types of learning, which can lead to all kinds of academic problems, such as learning disruption.
- Safety. Pretty straightforward…people are still uncomfortable with the prospect of sending their child into an unknown pool of mandates–or lack thereof. The Delta variant has re-instilled fear into quite a few parents, so it’s understandable if they’re not completely sold on the safety of their children in schools. This is a non-issue when homeschooling, and it is arguably at the top of the lists of reasons so many parents are deciding to keep their kids home during the 2021-22 school year.
- Flexibility. This is a well-known benefit to homeschooling…not necessarily related to the pandemic. But those families who experienced homeschooling at some point over the past 18 months may have found the flexibility too good to pass up. Because homeschooling can happen anytime and anywhere, parents are able to juggle more of their day-to-day tasks and activities knowing that their child is able to learn or be taught at their convenience, leaving ample time for interest, exploration, and fun.
- Freedom. For those families looking to homeschool as a one-year or temporary option, homeschooling with an accredited academy simplifies the process of switching back to a public or private school. Accreditation helps ensure that brick-and-mortar schools will happily enroll your child and his or her accredited transcript, making the transition seamless.
Opting for the utmost caution when it comes to your child’s safety and education should not result in any type of repercussions. However, with so many school districts no longer offering a virtual-only option, it probably feels as if you are being punished. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Homeschooling is not only a viable education option, it just might be the ideal education option for your family.
Whether you’re looking to homeschooling as a temporary solution or something more permanent, Bridgeway Academy is here to help you navigate through the journey. We offer programs that fit every schedule and every learning preference. Textbook, online, live classes, self-paced study–Bridgeway has it all, backed by that all-important accreditation and supported by our amazing academic advisors.