Homeschooling is no April Fool’s joke

I’ve seen people writing on social media that, with current school closures, perhaps parents will value teachers more and understand the issues that teachers are striking for. For all of us who are trying to keep our children learning while they are off school, this may indeed be correct, but we are in the minority, or so my teens are telling me.

The first issue with the teacher appreciation statement is that most of us who are continuing their learning already understand that larger class sizes, and mandatory online learning (among other issues) aren’t in our children’s best interests. We support the strikes and the people picketing during the cold winter months for quality education.

The next problem is that the people who might learn that teaching isn’t so easy if they were homeschooling their kids aren’t teaching. Send all the resources you want Province of Ontario. Mr. Netflix and Ms. X-box are running classes at home in so many houses.

I have noticed that many of us who are taking the time to homeschool and not as a three-week March break are teachers or involved in the education field.

Why am I forcing my kids to keep learning? Why would anyone want to endure the daily groans and complaints? It is triggering my memories of when they were being told they had to practise their musical instruments. That was not a fun time, and this is no different.

I appreciate that the provincial government has put together resources online for many courses, but the first two that I looked for, Grade 9 Academic Math, and Grade 12 Advanced Functions, are not available on the website. This led me to having to do a lot of Internet research to happen upon resources for Grade 9 Academic Math.

Enter the teenage boy being asked to do said math, and the rose coloured glasses of learning and working together get punched squarely off my face. I have been informed that “none” of his friends have to do “any” work. I posited that the fact that “none of the other kids have to do work” has become the new rallying cry for Fortnite instead of Physics, Minecraft instead of Math, and Subnautica instead of Science.

Why do I care? If school resumes this school year, teachers will need to fly through material to finish the term. If school is cancelled for the year and everyone is just moved forward, (because I can’t see them simply restarting the term — though that is probably what they should do) next year’s teachers will appreciate any student who actually continued learning. If classes move online, to try and prove Premier Ford’s great idea for online learning, any learning already accomplished will improve students’ success. By the way, my son’s comment about doing courses online after being asked to watch two videos on polynomials and complete a worksheet: “I will quit school if that happens.”

Teachers are likely terrified of what will happen next term, as none of the above scenarios will make their lives easier. Almost all of them will mean teachers have to work even harder than they do now to catch everyone up and prepare them for the next level. In solidarity for teachers and the entire education system, I will continue to teach my children some material. That said, it would be really helpful if other households were also doing some homeschooling so that my household could hear about other evil parents making their kids do work.

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