Homeschooling could be a strong solution to the debate surrounding students learning virtually or in person.
By Emmanuel Simon
Like almost all matters in our pseudo-political climate, there is much debate about whether children should physically go back to school, or remain home and do classes online. Why is that?
The arguments for those who advocate for children to physically go back to school are numerous. The argument I find strongest on this side is that children need to go back to school in order to develop their minds and social skills. As much as we would like to pretend otherwise, meeting friends on Zoom differs immensely from meeting them in person. There is something about personal connections that make human flourishing possible, and doing away with these connections harms the human person. Thus, according to some who advocate for children to go back to school, the measures to prevent COVID-19 are harmful and inhumane.
Similarly, there are many who advocate that children physically going back to school during COVID-19 would produce disastrous results. The strongest argument for this position, in my view, is that children want to run around and play with other children, disregarding masks and social distancing. Children can thereby get COVID-19 and spread it to other children and teachers. Furthermore, if the children were to get sick, the parents of that child would have to take care of him or her, increasing the risk of exposure for the parent. Thus, to open up in person classes for students would appear to be counterproductive to stopping the spread of the virus. Once the COVID vaccine becomes available for the general public, we could start talking about measures on how to open in person classes for children.
These being the strongest arguments on both sides, I wonder whether there is some sort of third position one could take, whether it be a middle ground between the two or some third option. As much as I would like to, I don’t have the answer to solve this difficult issue. However, I think COVID-19 has shown us other opportunities for schooling.
In recent years, homeschooling has been increasingly popular amongst families and children. Though I myself was never homeschooled, I know many who were, and these individuals are intelligent, have good social skills, and are able to do what an average non-homeschooled student can do. Not only would homeschooling lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for children and their families, it would also provide parents the opportunity to bond with their children. Homeschooling can be a safe way for children to be maskless, in person, and with others; this does away with the previous difficulties.
Now some may be tempted to object, saying that if children were to be homeschooled, then a parent would not be able to work at their job. But homeschooling does away with this difficulty as well. Homeschooling one’s own child is a job in itself. Even though a parent homeschooling a child doesn’t make money, it does save money which would otherwise be needlessly spent. Also, given the current situation, if a person wanted to work at home, they would be able to. Thus, even if a parent had to stay at home, the parent wouldn’t necessarily have to give up his or her job.
Amongst the confusing debate between those who advocate for and against children to physically go back to school, one finds a clear and effective solution which permits children and the family as a whole to flourish. What can be more fulfilling for a father and a mother than to get to bond with their children, establishing a deep and personal relationship!
Melanie Moyer '22,