Social Distancing in School or Homeschooling? This Will Make You Say Hmmm.

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Inside: Find out why social distancing in school may not be the best choice for your child and the negative effects it could have. What are your options?

This has been a year like none other. COVID-19 has changed many people’s lives, and it’s hard to know when we’ll see things back to usual again. 

I think children, especially those in the public school, have experienced the most disruption to their lives.

They’ve gone from going to school every day and seeing their friends to being isolated at home watching their teacher on a screen. Their activities have been cancelled and there’s no end in sight.

And now, when they return to the classroom, it’s looking like social distancing in schools could become the “new norm”. 

Social Distancing in School

I’ve read the potential rules children will have to follow and it will be very different from what they’re used to.

Here’s the funny thing. The BIGGEST question any homeschooler gets is whether their children are socialized. Homeschool socialization (or lack their of) is a myth. However, it may become a reality in the public school system.

If you’re considering homeschooling your child, click the button below and set up a consultation with me. We can talk through what it really means for your and your child to homeschool.

Get 15 minutes FREE with your first appointment.

What Is Socialization Anyway?

The short and sweet definition of socialization is how children get along and play with each other

Students spend an enormous part of their life in school and that has a tremendous influence on their socialization.

What is socialization

Besides an education, the purpose of the public school system is teaching children to share, work in clusters, participate in lessons, and interact in social groups.

Many people believe the socialization that happens in school affects how children socialize when they’re adults.

Socialization is an important part of development, but students must be able to interact in order for that to happen.

Socialization is an important part of development, but students must be able to interact in order for that to happen.
Heidi Miller-Ford
The Unexpected Homeschooler

Another factor that affects children is school climate, or the sense of belonging.

Research shows that schools with the greatest discipline issues usually have the worst social climates.

There won’t be a lot of interaction going on between students in the school system this year.

Children will spend their time isolated in one room all day and not even allowed to face each other. This can’t create a positive school climate.

Do you think this will create discipline problems? Only time will tell, but as a former teacher, I have a hunch it will.

Homeschooling and Socialization

How are children socialized before school starts?

You guessed it. The family!

homeschooling and socialization

In fact, how were children socialized long before they ever created the school system?  The family.

And I think they were doing just fine.

They learned to:

  • Wave hi and goodbye
  • Talk with people of all ages
  • Play nice with other toddlers
  • Share with their siblings or friends
  • Stand in line at the store
  • Make eye contact when someone is speaking to them
  • Work in groups

Does that sound like socialization to you? Yep! 

I’m not sure what has changed to make people think only the school system can socialize children. Or that sending them to sit in a classroom of the same-age peers all day will help them get along with adults and children of different ages? 

I would venture to say that the classroom situation they’re proposing this fall will be the least natural environment your child can be in. And could have lasting negative effects.

Was Your Homeschooling a Good Experience?

It’s possible that homeschooling wasn’t on your radar, but now that you’ve tried it, you probably discovered it’s not as scary as you thought. 

However, I’m guessing your child’s school day was way longer than it should have been. 

I’ve talked to parents and heard the stories of school going on until the evening. Children having to watch eight or nine videos every day. Multiple kids trying to share one computer to get through all those videos. Slow or no internet and not much guidance or help from the school.

This doesn’t sound like a lot of fun or something you’d want to repeat.

But maybe you were doing it all wrong?

If you’d prefer to homeschool this year, but aren’t sure how to do it. I can help. I’d love to chat with you and help you get started. Click on the button below and set up a call.

Get 15 minutes FREE with your first appointment.

Is Homeschooling Better?

After that experience, you might be asking, “Is homeschooling better?” 

What you did when you were sheltering in place was not homeschooling and it may or may not have been a positive experience.

You were doing school at home. There’s a big difference!

How is homeschooling different?

Homeschooling differs from the classroom setting, but in a positive way. 

The child:

  • Learns at his own pace
  • Follows his interests
  • Uses a curriculum that caters to his learning style
  • Is taught with a method that works for your family. (Example- if your child hates learning with videos, you don’t have to use it)
  • Bonds with his parents
  • Grows closer to siblings (no they don’t gather ‘round and sing kumbaya, but they do enjoy each other’s company more)
  • Learns wherever he’s at- backyard, grocery store, park, bank
  • Can relax and not feel the pressure that’s often associated with the school system
  • Work on the couch, porch swing, or in a box (true story)

How Will Homeschooling Be Better Than Social Distancing in School?

I think many families are wondering if homeschooling will be better for their child than social distancing in school. 

Here are some reasons I think you should consider homeschooling:

-Less stress- Escape the constant reminder of COVID
-Kids get to act like kids
-Freedom to do what you want
-Real field trips, not virtual ones
-No face masks for eight hours a day
-Playing outside in the fresh air
-Safe get-togethers with small groups of homeschoolers for socializing and learning
-Not having to worry about missing school for two weeks if they get sick or were near someone with COVID
-Ability to keep your child and family members safe (especially if there are elderly or immunocompromised people in the household)

How can they focus and learn when it’s making them anxious all the time? And for kids that already suffer from anxiety and depression, this will intensify those feelings.

Homeschooling sounds like a much better and positive option for your children. These kids shouldn’t have to worry every single day about a virus. 

Social Distancing in School

The concern about sending children back to school is spreading the virus. To stop the spread, children and school staff must follow strict guidelines to keep them as separated as possible in a group setting for eight hours a day.

Social distancing in school

Here are a few ideas being thrown around by the CDC and individual state schools.

  • 3 foot radius around each student’s desk, creating 6 foot distancing
  • Encouraging and/or requiring them to wear face masks
  • Virtual activities instead of field trips
  • Staggering lunches and limiting contact
  • Have children bring their own meals if possible, or serve school lunches on plates in the classrooms instead of the cafeteria.
  • Having students stay together with the same teacher throughout the school days and no mixing of groups. 
  • Students not sharing objects 
  • Facing desks in the same direction (instead of facing each other), or having students sit on the same side of tables and spaced apart.
  • Installing sneeze guards and separators in areas where social distancing isn’t possible.
  • Marking the floors or sidewalks with tape and hanging signs on walls, to remind children and staff to stay at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times. 
  • Having “one way routes” in hallways.
  • Shutting down playgrounds with shared playground equipment if possible.
  • Limiting any unnecessary volunteers, visitors, and activities with outside groups and organizations. 
  • Holding virtual activities and events in place of special performances, student assemblies, parent-teacher meetings, and spirit nights, as possible.
  • Having children go to school on alternate days to keep the numbers low and be able to social distance

That doesn’t sound like a lot of socialization is going on. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. 

Children are expecting to go back and see their friends again and hang out with them. That’s not going to happen.

In fact, they’re in for a shock. This won’t be the school experience they’re used to.

I fear many children will dread going each day, dislike learning, and maybe even suffer from anxiety and depression because of the extended amount of isolation each day. 

How to Start Homeschooling?

If you’d prefer to homeschool this year, but aren’t sure how to do it. I can help. I’d love to chat with you and help you get started. Click on the button below and set up a call. Get 15 minutes FREE with your first appointment.

Hi I’m Heidi. I’m a former teacher turned homeschool mom of three. I’ve homeschooled from the beginning and my oldest is now graduated. I believe your home doesn’t have to be chaotic just because you homeschool. When you join The Unexpected Homeschooler’s community, you’ll learn how to have a more organized, efficient, and productive homeschool, and I’ll send you this Daily Assignment Sheet tool as a gift to teach your students to work independently and free up your time.

Social distancing in school
Social distancing in school

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