By Brandi Schunk
There have been many questions and concerns lately about whether or not homeschoolers are included in Maine’s waiver of the required days for our current school year, 2019-2020. The following thoughts have been stirring in my heart for days. I hope that my words here will both ease your concerns and encourage you.
I recommend that you complete your 175 days for this school year as planned. There are many benefits and considerations in doing so, and I shall outline just a few.
1. Since the Maine DOE website does not mention homeschoolers specifically, the safest thing is to complete your days. It may be worth the peace of mind, even if it takes a little longer than planned.
2. You were going to do the days anyway, so really you are just honoring your commitment.
3. Your child’s education is worth the investment. They still need the knowledge, the chance to be challenged and grow, the pride and confidence that come from learning new things. Carrying on in the face of adversity is itself a valuable lesson.
4. It may be much more difficult to complete the days now, as we shuffle to reorganize life in these very interesting times, but I have faith in you and your children to overcome and find creative solutions. There are many people and resources available to help you on this journey.
5. Life is a classroom. Teaching your students (and yourself) to find the learning opportunity in every piece of the day, from chores to casual conversation, is a remarkable skill that could add great value to your lives.
6. Colleges and universities will likely be impressed with your child’s fortitude in completing the year even if it wasn’t required (especially since their public school peers may not be doing the same.)
7. Having some structure to the days and continuing on with school as much as possible can give children the comfort of their known routines, and give them some sense of control while facing so many uncertainties.
8. The satisfaction that you and your family will feel from completing the year is priceless.
Please know this, I understand that our current state of living has brought up some difficult situations in many households. You may be dealing with food insecurity, financial troubles, or other areas of lack. Your child may have special circumstances that seem to require skilled help, which is no longer available to you.. I can’t even begin to imagine the multitude of scenarios that are being played out in our world right now.
Wherever you find yourself in the midst of this, please remember that God loves you. He offers you forgiveness, peace and grace like no other. I invite you to extend these same offerings to those around you, and to yourself. You’re doing the best you can, and that is good enough.
So today, look for the silver linings. Embrace the goodness. Cultivate joy. And always remember to love.
Sending cyber hugs to you and your family!
~Brandi Schunk, HOME regional rep for Washington and Hancock Counties