The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many major inconveniences nationwide. With businesses shutting down left and right, and general restrictions on people’s ability to move and work, the situation looks dire. However, crises can come with silver linings.
As a result of school closures nationwide, many students have seen their classes canceled indefinitely or moved online. In the midst of this shakeup, some parents are even entertaining homeschooling options now that they are home with their children. What seemed like a radical idea, homeschooling is now becoming more accepted as more people are willing to experiment with this method now that they’re at home for extended periods of time.
Kerry McDonald, a homeschooling proponent at the Foundation for Economic Education, is stepping up to advise parents on how to adjust to this new educational reality in the short term. Who knows, maybe some of these parents will become sold on the idea of homeschooling.
Homeschooling receives a lot of flak from the establishment commentariat. In fact, the Washington Post recently featured an article arguing that the homeschooling conditions created by the stay-at-home orders will result in disparate educational outcomes. Such doubts are typical of homeschooling skeptics. Other detractors of homeschooling have taken a step further by using underhanded means to stifle the use of homeschooling curricula.
It is truly ironic that this form of schooling, which was one of several ways Americans used to educate their young before mass public schooling was established, receives so much flak. There are some valid concerns surrounding the lack of socialization and the convenience factor for certain families who may have work or time constraints that make homeschooling next to impossible.
Nevertheless, homeschooling should remain a valid option for people to turn to. After all, there should be nothing exclusive about how education is provided. Like any service, it will operate best when the government is kept away from it as much as possible.
Ultimately, parents should have multiple educational options to choose from. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number of American children being home-schooled doubled from 850,000 in 1999 to 1.7 million in 2016. A black swan event like the coronavirus could further strengthen the interest of families who want to mix things up when it comes to their children’s education. Homeschooling could play a significant role in a potential education realignment.
Not all crises have to end in disaster. In a crisis, we can find new opportunities and discard outdated methods.