Uncertainty continues to loom about the possibility of not going back to school this coming fall. Many colleges, universities, high schools, and others have already ruled out returning for the next term, even though children and young adults have a high immunity to the coronavirus. Nevertheless, the closing of schools has led many parents and families to consider homeschooling their children. In fact, in a recent USA Today poll of “parents with at least one child in grades K-12,” 60% said that “they would be likely to pursue at-home learning options instead of sending back their children this fall.” Moreover, 30% of parents said that they are “very likely” to continue at-home learning.
This phenomena could change general views of public schooling and expand parental choices and empower parents. Further, this huge shift from the mainstream, public education could also have incredible results, since, for decades, educators, politicians, and philosophers have totally radicalized the true meaning of education. The great philosopher of the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas, defines education as “the making of the new man up to the point of virtue.” Modern education has undoubtedly moved away from these principles, as many schools are teaching students, sometimes starting in Pre-K, to accept teachings on abortion, same-sex marriage, and gender ideologies, even without the parents knowledge.
Fortunately in many parts of the United States, there is still freedom for parents to decide the education of their own children. For my family and thousands of families all over the country, homeschooling actually has become the best means of education.
Of the many schools that offer homeschooling resources and programs to parents, one school has stood out in academic excellence and advancement of the Catholic faith to future generations for my family. Seton Home Study School, located in the state of Virginia, “is a nationally accredited, faithfully Catholic private PreK-12 distance school.” Founded in 1983 with only 50 students, “today, there are over 12,000 enrolled students, an additional 25,000 students who use Seton materials, and a total of about 50,000 students using Seton Testing Services.”
I interviewed Draper Warren, Director of Admissions at Seton Home School, to discuss homeschooling during and after the coronavirus. During these times, Draper Warren has “definitely seen an increase in new families.” Regarding the future of homeschooling, Warren gave his honest opinion of his expectations. He stated: “millions of families are getting a trial of quarantine-schooling. Some might hate the experience and conclude homeschooling would never be for them. Others might realize how nice and effective it can be, and hopefully they continue to homeschool in the future.” Warren concluded by saying that for the parents who hate homeschooling, “their unplanned and unprepared experience, which would not be representative of most homeschooling experiences, could give them a false and negative impression of what homeschooling could truly be.”
In an interview with the Homeschooling Legal Defense Assosciation (HSLDA), the Senior Counsel for Global Outreach answered my questions on their own experiences during these extraordinary times. Immediately following the closures of schools, “HSLDA created www.mompossible.org to help every family who are suddenly schooling at home. We have never had the whole nation of 50 million children schooling-at-home and we have been happily surprised to find that there have already been many who are interested in homeschooling in the future after COVID-19.”
The representative continued, “we have also created…[the site] specifically to help families who are trying to manage schooling at home and juggling work and other responsibilities.” These extraordinary circumstances have only increased the information available for interested parents. Lastly, the HSDLA representative optimistically stated that “many people will look back on this pandemic as the time that they started their homeschooling journey.”