The pandemic that was declared by the WHO on the 11th of March 2020, has changed how the world operates, leaving us in a state of limbo. From the pressure the virus has exerted on healthcare systems, from the ones designed to handle a pandemic of this extent, and the ones that were not, were taken by surprise.
Businesses are in the process of changing their business models by integrating with government authorities to better serve their communities.
The integration of the business community towards providing services for the betterment of society rather than profit, has been refreshing.
A key question of concern to the family unit is how education institutions are responding to the pandemic?
How do all children continue learning?
With the total number of confirmed cases rising globally, the response taken has been to shut down schools and tuition centres.
Working around big obstacles is a familiar strategy to modern civilization.
After all, human ingenuity is what got us to where we are today.
Combining technologies to bridge the existing gaps in education systems, however, is a relatively new concept.
It requires the involved students to practice self discipline,focus and commitment to the path of learning.
Online Home schooling is an approach taken by parents and has its pros and cons.
One of the most stressed upon arguments put forward; The barrier to socialisation for children.
As children grow, they require external stimuli to observe and form their perceptions of the world.
The importance of observation is linked to knowledge, you can only know more if you question much more than what you see.
Is Homeschooling online, the ‘New Normal’?
However, in times of crisis that we are now defining as the new norm or the new normal, how do students and educators create the young adult, one who is informed, inculcated with knowledge and discipline to be an upstanding citizen?
One such program and research study conducted by Jiangping Xia on the Jhensiang Experimental School program explored themes on how online learning brings schools and families closer together.
The emphasis was placed on the fundamental purpose to inculcate all round development and healthy growth in children (Wang and Dong, 2018)1
Through online learning, homeschooling can be a form of a joint education force. ( Lu and Liu, 2019)1
Students at home are exposed to both primary and secondary institutions,family and the schooling systems.
This has shown to have significance to the cultivation of student morality and comprehensive development. (Wen 2019)1
With the use of online teaching models, educators and tutors can use online platforms to further educate and push epidemic prevention knowledge to students and parents.
The Jhensiang Experimental School model went about with an additional resource called “One thing a week”.
“One thing a week encouraged students to perform one mandatory household task a week, implementing family moral education practices.
Resulting in a multifaceted approach for the all round development of not only students, but the family unit in supporting and communicating effectively.
When drafting policies in an ever changing climate, the importance of inclusion has alway been key in discussions.
The education system only functions if students were a part of the system after all.
Including important stakeholders, such as students, in the decision making process allows for solutions accepted by all parties involved to make headway.
In the world of academia, various publishers have called for collective effort to push scientific discussion and collaboration forward.
Pushing knowledge driven decision-making, rather than relying on parachute sciences to command lead, the inclusion of epistemic communities brings together a stronger sense of unanimity.
Political participation is a key indicator of effectiveness of a homeschooling model of education.
Some would say countries have dropped the ball when tackling effective responsiveness to this pandemic.
By closing school week by week, the climate we exist in has a sense of uncertainty especially for parents who don’t have help with their children.
Taking in the importance of how social research strengthens the response at all levels to stop the spread and decrease social and economic impact of COVID-19.
Homeschooling is an approach that all stakeholders of the education system have a key part to play.
Online Homeschooling is an integral part of response to covid-19.
At this crucial moment in history, given the lack of socialisation for children, it requires the family unit to step up and take a more apt part in the process of learning for children.
Given the need for social isolation, authorities and education boards are expected to approach the concept of homeschooling differently, hopefully combining technologies, innovation and learning tools to support students.
As a social distancing intervention, homeschooling guidelines will be drafted and online tools to be made accessible to all are expected to close gaps in the education system.
Would students who don’t have access to the internet get left behind?
Would the ones who can afford services and technologies fare better at standardized examinations?
However, an article in The Economist, How the virus kills dreams for Chinese teens, highlights the problems with income disparities in the face of covid-19
Interestingly enough, homeschooling is definitely revolutionary in the face of pandemics.
Since this is foreseen to be a global health problem we are expected to experience with time, it gives us a positive baseline from where to move forward.
Standing by our communities, innovative cultures, all developing technologies never seen before.
It is definitely an all round approach that depends on services to match the needs of its societies and comply to serve the world with good intentions at heart.
The world is changing, education practices are changing, standing in a very significant moment of history, we hold in honour in playing our part for the right side of history.
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Xia, Jianping, Practical Exploration of School-Family Cooperative Education during the COVID-19 Epidemic: A Case Study of Zhenjiang Experimental School in Jiangsu Province, China (March 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3555523 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3555523