Asynchronous Teacher-Directed and Print-Based Programs are the worst of the worst of “at-home” learning. Like online, Teacher-directed and Print-based programs are school controlled distance education school programs. But unlike daily online classes, which are synchronous (real time), your child rarely is overseen by a teacher in these asynchronous (not live) programs. A once a week check-in or worse, once a month check-in does not constitute teaching.
Parents Become Unpaid Teachers
The education system calls the parent’s role in these types of programs, a “support person” but in reality, for grades K-6 when younger children rely on an adult for direction because their executive function is not as well developed yet, YOU are expected to be the “meanie” that ensures the work gets explained and done with the materials provided by the school. This is unpaid parental teaching-not parental support. A young child is not going to email their teacher for help – they are going to come to you. A young child is going to need you to sit beside them and their print-based curriculum and explain what they need to learn. In grades K to three, children don’t know how to read yet, so these programs absolutely require an adult to teach. This is unpaid teaching, not parental support. There is not the same daily accountability of your child interacting with their teacher that keeps them on task as online schooling does. When a child is online in a synchronous program, a teacher can use pictures and voice to engage with a child who can’t read yet, much like a classroom setting. This is missing in asynchronous programs and parents are expected to provide it. Never mind that they may have other children to tend or a job to work.
Synchronous Programs are Better in Keeping Young Children Engaged
After a year of being forced to teach online, many schools now know more about online delivery with young children and this Fall are scheduling daily online check-ins and short teaching sessions with about 30 minutes online in the morning and 30 minutes online in the afternoon with a live synchronous class and teacher. After that, the child has an assignment to do for the morning session and afternoon session. Children are no longer expected to be online 5 hours a day because we know that it is developmentally inappropriate. Parents have been vocal to their school boards on how bad it was.
Parent-Child Relationship Most Important
With teacher-directed and print-based and other types of asynchronous (not live) programs, you are expected to “send your child to school in your living room” but you are basically handcuffed on what you can control. You can’t do what you want (as it is school) but the job of keeping the child on task with someone else’s agenda falls to you – which wrecks your parent-child relationship if you find yourself yelling and threatening your child too often to get the “school” work done. You have to supervise what the teacher/school dictates in your home. You are basically homeschooling but with zero control. If you are going to be in the job of unpaid overseer, teacher and task manager, why not go totally parent-led home education and do exactly what you want; not what the government requires you to do?
Who Has the Control?
On parent-led home education programs, you have 100% of the control. You pick the resources, delivery methods (like more hands-on ways such as unschooling,) and you control the assessment. You can decide that it is a nice day and skip the assignments and you decide that a curriculum is not working and your child needs more hands on. You decide your child is ready for the next grade and you decide to work more on a particular area or work ahead. Get off the rigid conveyor belt of “school in your living room” and embrace freedom, funding, fun and flexibility.
You don’t need a teacher-directed program to know what to do; you can get support, direction and advice from your home education facilitator (who is a teacher, but not in the driver’s seat of control because you are) to purchase curriculum for each subject that is perfectly “all laid out for you” but with 100% flexibility to ditch any part of it, or supplement it on home education.
If Your Child is on One of These Programs
It is now Spring. If your child has been on a Teacher-Directed or Print-Based Program and your child doesn’t have much assignments to show the teacher, DO NOT WORRY! Your school and the teachers are responsible to the government for your child’s progress. Not you. They are 100% responsible for making sure your child is educated because it is a school program, not home education. Be sure to remind them of that if they threaten you in any way. The program was supposed to teach your child – not you.
In planning for Fall, keep in mind that because these programs receive full government funding-to pay the teachers to teach, you may find certain school boards pushing you on to these programs instead of parent-led home education. Be aware that most curriculums do not do the teaching as a teacher would and you will end up doing all the teaching, that teachers get paid to do. If you are teaching, you might as well notify under Home Education.
Most parents are smart enough to teach content up to Grade 8 – even math! After that, kids can self-teach or go online with a teacher or hire a tutor. Take back control and build your valuable parent-child relationship with the flexibility you need – it is the most important component of a healthy childhood. Build the relationship and their resume will take care of itself.