The Wild Learner

Explore, adventure, adapt, discover.

Homeschooling vs. School from Home: influences from remote-schooling during a pandemic

August has arrived. For experienced homeschoolers, the later days of summer don’t carry the same meaning as they do for those families with children in traditional schools. However, this year, due to the global coronavirus pandemic, circumstances are different for all families. Homeschooling groups on Facebook are seeing an uptick in “newbies”, but many of these folks have very different orientations to homeschooling and seek information that doesn’t always align with the approaches to homeschooling that were prevalent pre-pandemic. They have been impacted by the remote “school at home” that was rolled out in the spring of 2020 – an experience that influences how they conceive of learning at home that contrasts with that of families who have chosen homeschooling prior to the pandemic. Many of these new arrivals are seeking online schools, in-home educators, caregivers, or learning centers which can provide supervision of learning while the parent(s) work – often from home, where the child may also be learning. Our own experience pre-dates the pandemic, but I well remember the struggle of trying to support and direct our child’s learning in the first few months after pulling her from school mid-year and having to make the mental shift out of “school at home” thinking. From my perspective, these pandemic “school at home” homeschoolers may fail to realize the advantage of student-directed learning that can occur in the homeschooling environment when we let go of some of these past approaches.


In Quebec, homeschooling families are required (since 2018) to submit an annual learning plan by September 30 that indicates how the child will meet certain required subject area content, how much time they will spend on educational activities, what materials and activities are planned, as well as how the child’s progress will be evaluated. For our child, this website hosts our most frequently used resources, which are listed on her learning plan. This allows our learner to be independently active in her learning activities. She has been deeply involved in planning the site, and in selecting the imagery. Soon, as we return to our non-summer learning schedule, she will start contributing to this blog. She will blog in both French and English, as she is learning in both languages. 


For our family, we do return to a different structure after Labor Day, as it helps with social-emotional development and self-care, as well as allows us as parents uninterrupted time that we need for our own work, currently in work-from-home mode. The expectation we have for her requires her to focus in on our selected curricular materials for two hours every weekday morning, from 9:00 to 11:00, with an occasional Friday or Monday off. That’s more than sufficient time to meet all the Provincial requirements in her case. In reality, she does far more learning in her unstructured “free time”, when she reads, writes, creates, plays, and helps with chores (chickens, dogs, and household). She spends some of her free time following her interests while using links from this website.


Going forward, more of these posts will be authored by her. I’ll likely post once or twice a month if I feel so moved. Best wishes to all of you going into the new academic year. 


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