In 2019, just under 1,500 children were being educated at home, which was an increase of 5% on the previous year. It’s a trend which has been on the increase though it is still a choice which very few parents and guardians make.
If you have ever wondered what homeschooling your children might be like, the pandemic will have certainly given you an insight. For many, the evidence points to students learning less and being more anxious, while parents have found it difficult trying to juggle work and education, especially those families with a number of children.
Most families were not set up for homeschooling, nor was the IT infrastructure in place to support remote learning for all pupils. This has added to the stress for pupils, especially those studying for the Leaving and Junior certificates.
Also, most parents are not full-time educators who, not only lack the ability to teach, but also to understand the subjects. Maths and science are particularly difficult at certain levels, while there is an obvious lack of understanding when it comes to foreign languages, and also the Irish language.
Generally speaking the majority of schools across West Cork and most of our teachers have gone to great lengths to help make the transition to homeschooling as smooth and as productive as possible for their students and indeed for parents. Let’s not forget it has been new ground for our educators too.
It’s no surprise that parents are suffering from the stress of homeschooling. While there is no magic bullet that will make the experience better, the pandemic is happening at a time of great awareness of mental health.
For people juggling work and home schooling, it’s important, in order to help their children, that parents look after their physical and mental health and try to take steps to minimise stress and anxiety. Stressed parents make for stressed children.