Homeschooling families experience shutdown differently

Billy and Crystal Akers homeschool their children, Isaiah and Eden. Although the shutdown has impacted them, it has not disrupted their children’s education.

The end of the traditional school year is almost here, but the majority of school-aged children have been out of school for at least a month. Many local public and private school parents are facing a major lifestyle shift dealing with new schedules, childcare issues, and schoolwork requirements. While some schools have shifted to online options or worksheet packets so children can continue to have school from home, local homeschooling families say the stay-at-home order has affected them differently.

Crystal Akers has been homeschooling her two children, Isaiah (11) and Eden (5), for two years. In addition to homeschooling, she also works from home helping to run the family business, Akers Enterprises. Billy and Crystal Akers use a literature-based curriculum for their children, and they say that the coronavirus hasn’t had a negative impact on their children’s education.

Crystal says it’s been nice to already have a set schedule that includes the kids and their work, and not have to wait on the school to send work. The Akers feel like that since they have been forced to stay home, they have had time to add in more books and projects than they usually would.

Regarding the closures, Crystal states, “We’ve been thankful that we already homeschool, because this hasn’t disrupted their education at all.” She feels like they are “ahead of the game.” They have already been able to finish up this year’s schoolwork, and Isaiah has already started getting ahead on next year’s course load.

Even without their schoolwork being affected, she has felt the effects of the quarantine in other ways. The children usually keep busy outside of school hours with extracurricular activities, including church, piano lessons, and karate lessons. With the quarantine, Isaiah says he “loves being home but misses church.” They have been thankful to use Zoom to videoconference some activities.

B.J. and Carrie Greene of Gretna have been homeschooling their son, Jackson, for a few years now. B.J. notes that for them, the shutdown has had no impact on their son’s schooling. “It’s all online, through Liberty University Online Academy, so we’ve been able to carry on as normal.”

One area homeschool family says pandemic schooling is not the same as regular homeschooling, because public school children are sent home with a packet of worksheets and information they have to learn to finish the year’s state requirements.

Homeschooling is different because it usually involves more choices, including a set schedule conducive to the family’s lifestyle, as well as curriculum chosen specifically to suit their children’s learning style.

For the full story, be sure to pick up a copy of the April 29 print edition of The Union Star. It is available on newsstands throughout the greater Brookneal area. Or call (434) 376-2795 to order a subscription to be delivered directly to your home or business.