| from Tina Hollenbeck |

Over the past year, I’ve had more coffee dates than I can count. In fact, I’ve had five such outings in just the last week, most at the same locally-owned venue. I’m now considered a regular, and I’m beginning to wonder if I should just set up office hours.

The vast majority of my meetings are with homeschooling moms. Some are veterans like me, but many are “newbies” seeking advice and encouragement in the midst of their inaugural home-educating year. I’m doing more meetings than before in part because I have time after graduating my girls from our homeschool in 2020. But the need is also greater than in years past. 

In fact, some estimates suggest that the number of families privately educating their children at home for the current school year has more than doubled from the previous year. So – whether or not you’re among them – if it seems to you that homeschooling families are suddenly coming out of the woodwork, you’re not hallucinating.

We all know the bottom-line reason for the increase: COVID. Some parents realized during last spring’s lockdowns that their children floundered under pandemic-related distance learning. Others didn’t want to send their kids back to brick-and-mortar schools, either because they feared infection or didn’t want to subject the children to daily mask-wearing and social distancing. Whatever the case, millions of parents decided this year to give private home education a shot.

It remains to be seen if this migration to homeschooling will stick. The majority of parents with whom I’ve spoken intend to continue on their new home-learning journey even if schools “normalize” by the fall of 2021, but I know those who reach out to me aren’t necessarily a representative sample.

In all probability, a large percentage of COVID-motivated homeschoolers will hand the baton back to conventional schools sooner or later. But if there’s a lesson I wish all parents would learn from events of the past year, it’s this: You are ultimately responsible for your child’s academic education.

If you homeschool, that’s obvious. You choose materials, organize the schedule, plan lessons, and evaluate your children’s progress. But the educational buck stops with parents who utilize conventional public or private schools too. Classroom teachers – whether paid via taxpayer dollars or tuition money – are facilitators, but God isn’t one day going to hold them accountable for the knowledge and values your children embrace. That responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders. It’s your job to ensure that you can justify the educational choices you make for your kids by His standards.

‘Tis now the season for deciding where your kids will “go to school” this coming fall. As you consider all the options, remember your ultimate responsibility before the Lord so you can choose wisely.

Tina Hollenbeck is a homeschooling mom who passionately advocates for the merits of home education. She launched a research project that resulted in The Homeschool Resource Roadmap to serve the homeschool community she loves. Through this initiative, she seeks to provide useful information and encouragement for those called to raise and educate their own children, so that they will feel confident that they are equipped for the task.

Check out Tina’s helpful and informative information:

Views From the Road Home (blog)     https://www.viewsfromtheroadhome.org/

The Homeschool Resource Roadmap (free summative information about more than 4,400 homeschool-oriented resources in over 300 different content areas)     https://www.homeschoolroadmap.org/

The Christian Homeschool Oasis (discussion and help forum)     https://www.christianhomeschooloasis.com/