Dozens of parents have asked me about homeschooling. I am honestly back on the fence. Not about homeschooling itself, but about how to homeschool. There are different models of homeschooling and each model can be beneficial depending on the child's and parents' needs. No school system or homeschool curriculum is perfect!
Here are my biggest observations and takeaways (I speak as a mother of 2, Professor, a clinician, and someone who has taught outside of the U.S. in African schools):
1. Many homeschool models are reflective of traditional schooling such as 8am starts and 3pm end times, and math, science, and reading. Other programs are simply "supports" for parents. For me, I loved the shutdown of schools or social distancing from whiteness. I didn't like how school made my child a zombie. I love that she is sleeping in and waking up vibrant, energetic, and is a social being again (she works out with her dad at 4:30am/5am); and she is no longer expected to be a miniature adult attempting to avoid fights with adults or other students.
I'm not in support of homeschool programs that go from 8-3pm. I do not believe a child's brain needs to be guided by adults via technology for 6 hours out of the day. Go read! Sit in the sun! Talk to other people! Color! Draw! Or, just be! (But, no t.v. or too much social media lol). I did find one program whose motto was no more than 4 hours a day of online learning.
2. Some homeschool sites' online presence is "clunky" and/or doesn't provide enough information for parents to make an informed decision. Second, most parents are not experts on homeschooling. An organization's or businesses' online resources should be streamlined and transparent. What are you asking of us? Our children? What are your prices? What is the curriculum?
3. Some homeschool programs center culture (e.g. everything from cooking to travel to Africa courses!), but may lack what I might think is an essential skill such as a foreign language (e.g. Spanish or Swahili). Finally, culture should be at the center of all education. Period. But, we have to be careful of throwing everything in the "pot", because it looks and feels good to adults. For example, the number one language spoken by Africans is Swahili (outside of Africa is Spanish!). Shouldn't Black children be learning one or both of these languages? With that said, how do parents choose a curriculum that infuses culture and practicality?
Okay, this post is now too long!
In the struggle for our humanity,
"Not your mother's therapist, or your brother's life coach."
Dr. Venus Evans-Winters (a.k.a Dr. V)
Activist Scholar. Cultural Worker. Healer. Mother.