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The New Shut-In Economy: Where Side-by-Side Homeschooling and Work are the New Norm

March 19, 2020

Like most, I never imagined that it would take a crisis for homeschooling to become the in thing. I certainly never imagined that there would be a day when it would be the new norm for parents to work from home, coexisting with their children, and simultaneously homeschooling them during a typical work and school day.

But that day has arrived.

Over my 10+ years of homeschooling, many have asked (or I’ve heard or seen many conversations or online posts) whether it’s possible to work at home and homeschool at the same time–and if so, who out there actually pulls it off? Believe it or not, long before this global COVID-19 crisis and the emergence of this new shut-in economy, families, including single-parent families, have found ways to work-at-home and homeschool at the same time.

Perhaps the silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing, depending on your perspective, is that it’s radically transforming life as we know it and this includes work-from-home and the concept of homeschooling. Who knows if life will ever return to the way it was before? The changes brought with this new normal of a shut-in economy, work-from-home, and homeschooling way of life may permanently revolutionize the way people around the globe view and do work, school, and pretty much everything for that matter.

Here to stay forever–or at least until the next major, unexpected life change, may be telework or work-from-home, homeschooling, where almost every class, course, or field of study is available at the tip of a child’s fingers, telemedicine, Amazon like home delivery services, and increased modernization of businesses and countries (and mindsets) that were reluctant to change.

As I write this from France during the crisis and lockdown, a country where homeschooling is legally allowed, but not warmly embraced (in fact, some report that it’s too often a difficult, hostile process, where families face government ‘controles’ and inspectors who check-in more often than mandated, grill children on their knowledge, and judge homeschooling efforts), where websites are often unreliable and difficult to conduct daily business, where work-from-home seems far from the norm or popular, and where Amazon-like home delivery services seem minimally developed, I can’t help but believe that this crisis will reshape, if not redefine, the way the country does business and educates its youth. I can’t help but believe that it reshape work from home and homeschooling.

I want to believe that it will reshape work from home and homeschooling and eliminate negativity around the two everywhere.

I have long hoped for a day when work-at-home and homeschooling could coexist. While I don’t expect that the two side-by-side will ever be truly a piece of cake to balance for the parents (or parent) who ultimately chooses this way of life, I do believe that the opportunity for parents who want to work from home and homeschool should be a viable option well after the crisis.

My smile was huge today when I took a walk (allowed for health under the mandatory lockdown in France) and saw a mom teaching her kids outside her house on a patio table.

Of course, the American in me, couldn’t resist yelling (yep, I kept my social distance) in my bad French, Bravo, Maman avec Ecole a la maison!!

Bravo to all parents in this new shut-in economy, learning one day at a time to balance work, school, life in the midst of crisis.

xx

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