EDITORIAL: School decisions could mean sea change for education | Squamish Chief

EDITORIAL: School decisions could mean sea change for education

Squamish parents of four, David and Chelsea Corrente, say homeschooling works well for their family.

The children get focussed academic support and it provides for far more parental time with their children who are in kindergarten to Grade 7, and it offers the family freedom to roam — the younger kids finish their work within a couple of hours each day, the older kids in about four hours. It also allows for opportunities for character training that fit with their Christian values, the parents say, while still meeting the B.C. curriculum.

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With COVID-19, it seems many more parents are considering homeschooling.

The Correntes know about 20 local families already doing it and note more young families who are currently interested.

With back to school fast approaching and many questions left unanswered about what will happen in our brick and mortar schools, parents, teachers, administrators and students are sure to be feeling various levels of anxiety.

And that is understandable.

This is truly uncharted territory for everyone.

There is also a lot more at stake than just what each family decides for themselves.

What happens in the coming weeks could very well unintentionally lead to a sea change in our education system.

What will the ramifications be, for example, of many families homeschooling their kids?

Deb Dumouchel with Homeschool Canada, a company that supplies at-home resources, told The Chief they have been fielding about 10 times the interest in homeschooling over last year.

They hear from parents who have an immunocompromised child or someone at risk in the home. They also hear from parents with multiple children heading into multiple cohorts who are concerned about the risks.

Dumouchel said an important thing to keep in mind is that “homeschooling is nothing like quarantine schooling” in the spring.

The parents are much more involved, she said.

The Correntes also stress patience, perseverance, and endurance are required to homeschool, though that too can be a bonus in personal and family growth, they say.

As David, whose family is made up of public school teachers said, it is a uniquely personal choice.

“We know that the public school system is something that a lot of kids can learn in and grow and be a part of. It is a personal choice. An individual family has to make the best decision for them and what they believe is best.”

So true, but it also has larger implications.

If many families move to homeschooling, will they go back to regular school after the pandemic?

And what does all this mean for public education?

For some families, it must be noted, there is no real choice, as with the cost of living here and the lack of local high paying jobs, many parents likely can’t afford the time away from work to school at home.

But then again the nature of work is changing too, so perhaps many more families can make it work from home.

One thing is for sure, if textbooks survive into the next generation, much will be written about the decisions made in the coming weeks and months.

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