Updated: Aug 7, 2020
Back to school any year, is a time that is full of many emotions. For some parents whose kids are beginning kindergarten it can often be a mixed bag of emotions; with feelings of happiness, sadness, and anxiousness to name a few. Their babies are going out into a new world and they may feel a bit like one family era has ended but they’re also happy for the progress that has been made thus far and they face the future of educating their kids with anxious enthusiasm.
Whereas parents with older kids and a few more back to schools under their belts, sometimes view school opening with a sigh of relief and look forward to the return of “normalcy” and the structure that attending school adds to their lives.
However, the 2020 school year is poised to be anything but normal. The decision to open schools, or not to open schools, or to open them with a different format during the COVID-19 pandemic has been fraught with anguish on the part of school and health officials. Here are some of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) safety guidelines and rules that were made available for school officials. This list will give parents some insight to the changes that schools are making for health and safety improvements.
With the health of their children on the line, parents are also anguished and grappling for a solution to give their children a quality education, the social stimulation that they need, and an environment that protects them and their families from exposure to COVID-19.
Some of the options that have been offered to parents as a solution to meet the need for education this year are: to begin the school year with 100% online instruction, (called virtual or e-learning), many school systems have decided on this option, especially in areas where COVID-19 cases are on the rise. School officials in other locations have decided to take almost a business as usual approach. They are opening with full-time, in-person instruction, with the intention to implement social distance, and other CDC health and safety guidelines. Also being floated in some areas as an option is a plan that is referred to as a hybrid, or a combination of online and in-person learning which consists of for example, two days of in-person learning plus two days of independent online learning. There is certainly no one size fits all option this year, this is a list from the CDC that parents may want to consider when planning for their children’s return to school.
Homeschooling is another option that I believe parents should give careful consideration this year in particular. Homeschooling, which is legal in all fifty US states, grew primarily out of a movement to reform education and has evolved much over the past twenty years, from a grassroots beginning, to a what is now for many a very practicable education solution.
The thought of figuring out what to teach and having the time to teach your kids probably seems daunting! But, when you consider homeschooling remember, you will set the instruction time to suit yours and your children’s schedules. You are not locked into the normal 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM school day. And you don’t have to go it alone. There are plenty of books and guides that can provide much of the information that you’ll need to make your homeschooling endeavor successful. One book that I really like and think is extremely informative is “Homeschooling Not School at Home” in this practical resource Dawnielle Allen, an instructional designer, certified teacher, and experienced homeschooling parent teaches skills and techniques you can implement. This wonderful book includes loads of ideas about where to find free resources and also includes examples of professionally developed lesson plans that you can use to give you an idea of how to approach potential instructional topics. I was thrilled to find out that Ms. Allen has used one of my books “Zoe-Marie Wait and See” to illustrate the use of picture books in a instructional setting and how to develop lesson plans for them. Click to download a free copy of one of the four lesson plans that are included in “Homeschooling Not School at Home”.
No matter which format you choose for education this year, it is clear that it will not be an easy choice to make. Each option has its pros and cons that will have to be carefully reviewed. But whichever option you choose for your children’s education, I wish you a safe, productive, and enriching school year.
All the best,