Savanna Buckner: As we’re publishing this, many families are unexpectedly schooling from home due to COVID-19. What challenges of transitioning (even just temporarily) to homeschooling are families sharing with you?
Kemi Ingram, Homeschool Educator: One of the phrases that keeps coming up in conversations with parents is “I feel overwhelmed.” This seems to be most prevalent in conversations with parents of pre-school and elementary aged children. Most of them are brand new to schooling at home (for an extended period of time) and they are struggling with everything from curriculum and activity ideas to daily scheduling and time management. This is complicated by the fact that many of them are also trying to balance telecommuting.
Savanna: What do you think is most important for families transitioning to homeschooling to keep in mind?
Kemi: When someone has been entirely reliant on a traditional preschool or public school, I have tried to:
A) reassure them that they CAN have a positive homeschool experience.
B) communicate the idea that one does not have to to try to replicate “the way things are done” at the child’s school. In homeschooling there is flexibility. There are tons of online activity resources. Virtual meetups can be organized for share learning and “socializing.”
C) share that one of the joys of homeschooling is getting to know more about your child’s uniqueness and how they learn. There is freedom in this. You may find your child responding better to an approach or curriculum or teaching method that is different from their usual school setting and that’s okay.
Savanna: What led your family to choose homeschooling?
Kemi: Our official homeschooling journey began when our oldest daughter started preschool. At the time, I was a multimedia producer of motherhood-focused content. One of the podcast episodes I produced was entitled “Navigating Educational Options.” For this particular episode I interviewed the directors of several preschool program and toured their facilities in an effort to learn more about the different educational philosophies and approaches to schooling children. I also interviewed parents with the hope of gleaning diverse perspectives on educational choice.
I came away from the experience with a clearer understanding of the type of educational environment I was looking for.
Homeschooling seemed to be the most natural and flexible choice for our family. It would allow us to draw from multiple educational philosophies and incorporate our favorite things from the programs I’d visited. – Kemi Ingram
We also knew that we wanted to travel to be an integral part of the educational experience. Equally important was the desire to ensure our children received a well-rounded foundation in history and culture—specifically their own. This is a sentiment I’ve often heard expressed by American homeschoolers of African descent.
Savanna: How has homeschooling helped your children explore their unique talents, strengths, and interests?
Kemi: Homeschooling has allowed us to expose our children to diverse experiences and discover their natural inclinations and abilities. Our middle daughter, for example displayed an early interest in music. For her 3rd birthday she asked for piano lessons. We agreed to support her as long as she wanted. Last year, she won 1st Prize at the Golden Classical Music Awards and made her Carnegie Hall debut at age 10. She’s developing some new interests now and we’ll continue to encourage her.
Our oldest turned 14 in December and she is now a high school sophomore also dual enrolled at Grand Canyon University. She is ‘supposed to be’ in 8th grade. But because of flexibility during the elementary school years, she was allowed to work at an accelerated pace in a way that worked best for her. I am grateful for the homeschooling community and shall forever be thankful for school choice!
Savanna: What does school choice mean to you, and how have you participated in National School Choice Week?
Kemi: Choice means freedom—-the freedom to choose the best educational fit for each of my children. We have hosted a National School Choice Week art date meetup and worn our yellow scarves!
Savanna Buckner is press secretary at National School Choice Week and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Shining a spotlight on effective educational options for every child"