Lately, the nation has been through so much because of the pandemic that has certainly changed all of our lives. We have been doing all we can to be safe, think of others, yet still get out there ever once in awhile for sake of not losing our sanity or going stir crazy with those we love the most. As a homeschooler, many people assumed I was mostly at home with my son doing school work all day. Now I will not deny that is certainly part of our days especially in the winter. By winter I mean snow on the ground, ice everywhere, and in general cold. This does not stop me from going outside mind you but it does stop me from readalouds in the woods. We have good gear but if we don't keep moving it can get chilly FAST.
However, most homeschool days pre pandemic were spent going to museums, checking out the latest galleries, sipping warm drinks next to the lake, people watching, meeting new friends everyday, slacklining, hiking with LARGE groups, read alouds wherever we felt like, a packed lunch, and generally we were out of the house by 9 and not back until 6 pm. By the time we were back the little one had time to play, eat dinner, bathe, and head to bed. One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that it looks so different for each and every family. They will all have different rules, boundaries, things they like and do not like their children to do. Each family is focused on the child and how he or she is developing, so in that definition I guess no homeschool could look like another just for the fact that it would be a sincere undertaking dabbling in the realms of sheer impossibility.
With that said, homeschool has gone through a dire shift this year. We have NEVER used screens as much as we have this year, we have gotten more devices in our home than we have ever had. We are well involved in the ins and outs of Skype, Zoom, Apple Facetime, and more. How much can change in just a few months, how much one can learn in a year. Yes, we were the fringy crunchy type parents with no TV (we still don't have one, no we are not getting one) who did a Charlotte Mason, Waldorf homeschool approach to life and our family living in general.
In this article I would like to cover the new trends in homeschool that started in 2020 and that I have seen grow in popularity in the homeschool community. I believe these trends will continue in 2021 and beyond.
1. Gaming with friends on Zoom
Gaming can encompass Minecraft and other video games to card games, board games, or others. The only requirement is that you are playing with your own set of cards, your own video game, or your own board game. As each family hears about more board games from another, so more are bought and then they can be shared over Zoom. Its a way for the kids to connect with one another on a deeper level than a phone call and one video call that is much needed can really go a long way.
2. Zoom co op meet ups which can be absolute chaos or incredible and uplifting
Ah, co-op days. I remember craving the chaos, the unstructured play time followed up by a class in art or math or drawing or many other options. Then back to unstructured play for a bit, a snack, and then home. It was a school day filled with learning through experiences and I lived for it. Unfortunately I experienced 10 months of this before lockdown and then the pandemic hit. It was so much to take at once, so when I heard we would try it on Zoom a week after restrictions were in place I was honestly giddy. Yet the experience of it was anything but what it was. Difficult to control, chaotic at times for each household involved, it slowly moved and broke off into smaller groups. While I am honored for each and every family that I am still in contact with I wonder if a continuing trend will be smaller zoom co ops in the future.
3. Digital Mom sanity groups
This is one that I am loving personally. Moms taking a bit of time out of their month to meet up with one another, discuss ideas, bounce things off of each other, participate in a discussion about what our kids thrive from, offer advice and also hold space for one another. This trend from 2020 I am living for in 2021 and I see it as integral to the social media of the future. It is such a great way to connect, balance, and center. In my opinion nothing beats real physical interaction but this is so close and I am honored to be in a circle of women creative and innovative enough to stick with meetings like this.
4.co op classes through a digital platform
With sites like Outschool, YouTube, and Zoom, almost every class we had at co-op I am now finding a class to replace it with or scouring YouTube to find something that fits well with what we did at the co op. At first I decided I didn't like this without much thought. I think its just because it was different and new and I was having that whole 'change bad' mentality about it all. Yet its something I know I will be continuing long after 2021 as my son has gained so much from using this on his own.
5.No museums with large homeschool groups at 9 am on a Wednesday
You'll still have masked museum visits with your kids at 9 am on a Wednesday, but all of the other kids are virtual schooled so they are there now too and you have to share 'your' museum. This has taken lots of adjustment and hasn't been the easiest for us but we are excited and looking forward to all of the new curveballs and ways to adapt the next years offer us. What trends are you seeing in the ever changing home education atmosphere these days? I would love to know your perspective and take on this in the comments.