Lacombe homeschooling parents now have support with new Facebook group

Back-to-school means staying at home for some parents and a group wants to help families connect

A new Facebook group has been started to help parents homeschooling their children connect with others in a similar situation.

Desiree Cameron says she started the Lacombe Homeschooling Parents Group on Facebook to create community.

“My idea for the group was to keep homeschooled kids connected,” said Cameron. “I started the page for extra activities like meeting at the library, skating, swimming, sledding… I use the page to share craft ideas and science experiments.”

The uncertainty of this year and the fears around back-to-school re-entry plans – whether those fears are because schools are not doing enough or because schools are doing too much to “stop the spread” – has pushed some parents towards homeschooling.

“It seems the general public is too scared of COVID,” said Joanna Luna, a parent who has decided to make the switch to homeschooling. “I will not raise my children in the fear and lack of stability the school plan implies. Being at home is the most normal option.”

Luna joined Cameron’s Facebook group in hopes the group will offer her aid and support and a more normal homeschooling life. She is hoping she will be able to find families with similar values who want to meet up “restriction-free”.

Luna is in it for the long-term. Homeschooling will give her family more flexibility with religious freedom and allow her to teach a bilingual Spanish curriculum, she says.

“My family was strongly leaning to get out of public school anyway. COVID just pushed us to make the decision,” Luna said.

Franciska Bakker Sephton’s son is going into Kindergarten this year. She knew she was either going to homeschool him or send him to French Immersion. So, she gave him the choice. He chose homeschool.

Sephton had been looking into homeschooling before COVID. She liked the idea of self-directed learning.

“You can focus on things that they are really interested in and you can dive in as far as you want to go,” she said. “You are also working at the pace of the person learning and not the pace of the classroom.”

Sephton also had COVID worries. Her husband works as a first responder and she didn’t want to take the risk that her child would bring something home; or, take something back to his classmates.

“My husband is already at enough risk at work, that, if I send my kid to school, am I being irresponsible, because of his job?” Sephton asked.

Sephton was also worried that the back-to-school plan would, essentially, fail.

“I understand why people need back to school,” said Sephton. “I just think that, when they closed the schools in March, they had a reason. To go back in pretending everything is going to be hunky-dory is a little misleading. Especially since they know there is going to be a second wave.”

Sephton will not be meeting up with others in the group, unless she feels comfortable the activity will be at a low risk for transmission, like sledding or skating in the winter.

She joined the group when she realized she was interested in homeschooling.

“I think it’s awesome that people are wanting to support each other and share the resources and share ideas,” she said.

The Facebook group was created on Aug. 4, 2020 and currently has 87 members.

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