As society moves on and starts planning for post-pandemic life, many working parents are feeling left behind. They are not able to see ahead to a new future after this. Whether they have lost their jobs completely or have had major changes disrupt their life at home, for one reason or another, getting vaccinated and sending their kids back to public school will not get them back to the same level of independence they had before—or the level they deserve. The disparities in remote learning success mirror inequities that existed before the year 2020 and will likely continue without major reform. 

We’ve seen that public school can’t be the only option for education and childcare. Private school is unattainable for most, as is a full-time dedication to homeschooling. Without viable options, we don’t have the power to make choices that will work for us. So what else can we do?

Option 1: Stick with Public School

Depending on how your home life has changed, or the arrangements your local schools have come up with, this may no longer be the best option for your family. Getting your child to and from school and extracurricular activities may not be as easy as it used to be. And if you’ve discovered your kid is not getting the individual attention or quality of education you thought they were, it may feel equally as impossible to send them back. 

Choosing public school may require some new resources and routines: you may need new systems for time management like a family Google calendar, and you may have to set new expectations with your children, their teachers and yourself. Families who have opted out of in-person classes due to coronavirus concerns have some hope of returning in the fall—Pfizer’s vaccine has proven 100% effective in children ages 12 to 15, and some experts think most children will be eligible to receive vaccines before the start of the 2021-2022 school year. What’s most important to recognize is that even public school isn’t one-size-fits-all and that you don’t have to take it or leave it at face value.

Option 2: Create a Hybrid Solution

One of the things we learned in the last year is that we can reconfigure our lives without necessarily re-inventing the wheel. There are public online programs for k-12 learners, and we can collaborate to share responsibilities with other parents and education experts in our communities. You may want to do some searching to see if there is an alternative school in your area. 

If public school isn’t an option for you, there may be a compromise that is just as affordable and fits with your work schedule. While you’re exploring other possibilities, track your top priorities and time commitments so you can be fully transparent about everything that’s on your plate. Our member portal has a collection of resources on creating customized educational success plans, and it’s a great place to meet other parents you can collaborate with!

Option 3: Homeschooling

Before you stop reading, you don’t have to give up all of your free time, design curricula or become a teacher in any way to homeschool successfully. Your child won’t be completely cut off from the world either; there are community-based programs that provide homeschoolers with space to meet and socialize in various ways, and there are likely independent sports and arts organizations in your area that offer both team sports and unique activities like gymnastics that most schools don’t have.

This option actually allows you the most freedom to create new solutions around your life rather than the other way around. You decide how regimented or independent your child’s learning process is and whether you want to buy into a complete program or cobble one together from various sources. And you decide how much you want to play teacher and when. There are a million ways to homeschool, and you don’t have to be an education expert to do it well. 

Even before March of 2020, families have always had individual goals and situations that don’t completely fit into the standard offerings of traditional public and private schools. What’s happening now is that more of us are realizing that we can craft our lives around those goals instead of choosing from a menu of (honestly) sucky choices. 

If you want to continue the conversation about what else is out there besides traditional education with other parents who are asking the same questions, log into our member portal and check out the resources and discussions going on right now. It might be the best decision you make all year!