Homeschooling veteran Janine Windolph, shown with her sons in class, has advice for first-timers.| Photo courtesy of Janine Windolph
Homeschooling during pandemic presents challenges
Being a student and teacher at the same time isn’t easy for parents like Veronique Mireault
by Kane Thomas
Veronique Mireault, a full-time student, won’t graduate as planned because of the stress of juggling studies while teaching her son at home.
One week before schools closed because of COVID-19, she took her seven-year-old out of school because she feared for his health.
She had always wanted to home school but the pandemic brought this reality much sooner than expected.
Infograph poll by Kane Thomas
The change came while Mireault was trying to finish her semester at the University of Regina.
She said it was stressful not being able to join her son’s Zoom classrooms and not being able to keep him focused because it conflicted with her own classes.
She had hoped to complete her degree during the Spring-Summer semester, take the LSAT and start law school.
Instead she cancelled summer classes to focus on her son’s needs, “which is my number one priority,” she said.
As a new home-schooler, she said she worried about what she’ll do when her child gets frustrated and if he will miss out on the social aspects of attending school.
If she didn’t postpone her education and have the help of her partner, the family would be struggling financially as well, she said.
Janine Windolph has home-schooled her two boys, aged 13 and 15, for the last seven years and has advice for parents doing it for the first time.
“One advantage to home-schooling is you don’t need to sit in a classroom but to take lessons from the real world that will help children retain information.”Janine Windolph, parent and home school teacher
Windolph took a land-based learning approach by joining the Explorers program offered by the Canadian National Parks. She also uses many online resources so that her children can learn at their own pace.
Finding out what type of learner your child is will help make home-schooling more rewarding, Windolph said.
Windolph said she moved around frequently because of her work as a professional artist and home-schooling seemed like the best fit for her boys.
Windolph thinks the pandemic is an opportunity for parents to connect with their children and to be creative in how they teach.
Parents will develop confidence over time as they relearn curriculum and the rewards will come with how your children respond with learning, she said.
She cautioned that if parents are frustrated with the situation, that feeling will be transferred to the children. For that reason, she advises, remaining positive and open to change provides a fertile ground for learning.
“You don’t need to be experts in everything. There are people out there to help fill in the gaps you don’t know.” she said.
Kane-Ryan Thomas is from Pelican Lake First Nation. Kane has a two-year diploma in the Culinary Arts program from SaskPolyTech in Saskatoon. He has over 10 years experience working in different fields in the culinary industry and earned the title of chef de partie at Elk Ridge Four Season Resort in Waskesiu, Sask. “I want to learn facts and to be able to share them in the way that they should be shown and give it my own flair,” he says.