It’s the ultimate DIY: taking your child's education into your own hands. Interest in home schooling is exploding across the Internet with many parents worried that distance learning will not be robust enough for their children this fall.
Sonoma mom and sports coach Belinda Halloran home schooled her four children for five years until last year when the twin boys wanted to experience recess. Now she's having to pivot again.
"The first thing they say was 'Oh I couldn’t do that' and I immediately say 'Yes you can.' I don’t necessarily believe you have to be a teacher. You have to have a love of learning. You have to want to do the journey with your child. You have to love education," she explains.
While most home schooling parents she knows also work a full-time job and there is curriculum available for parents to follow, make no mistake, it’s a commitment.
"This does take a lot of work for the parent who is the educator, who is delivering it. So you’re not just sitting around handing out a piece of paper saying, 'Here you go, do it.' You’ve got to do a lot of prep, you’ve got to do a lot of homework," she said.
There’s one obstacle that parents may not anticipate; other home school families may be slow to welcome them into their circles.
"They make new friends, they form attachments and then all of a sudden their new friends go straight back into the school system. And that’s hard on home schoolers who are in it for the long haul, to suddenly lose their friends who have decided to go back to school. It’s heartbreaking," Halloran explained. "So homeschoolers are very wary of new people."
That may be especially true in the coronavirus pandemic, with many families looking to make a temporary switch.
But for parents who can overcome those hurdles, "it’s incredibly rewarding," said Halloran. "It’s a job, it’s a journey that you’re doing with your child. And if you’re passionate about education and you’re passionate about your child’s upbringing, then it’s fantastic."
Halloran has chronicled her most trusted resources, and homeschooling tips, on her blog.