When they decide to take (or keep) their children out of public school, parents are aware that they are making a huge commitment. They become personally responsible for the education that their children are receiving. It’s their job to make sure that assignments get done on time, their job to make sure that their children are actually learning, and not just regurgitating information, their job to ensure that all of the lessons are presented in a way that is appropriate for their children. Homeschooling parents know that it’s not an easy job.
Furthermore, even parents who have chosen virtual schooling for their children know up front that there is going to be a time commitment involved. Teachers will do their best to work with parents where possible; but they do have office hours, and they have lives, too. There will be conferences that don’t necessarily take place at the ideal time, and phone calls that interrupt other things—including naptime. There will be lessons that must be taught and retaught in spite of everything else that needs to be done—including, but not limited to, piles of laundry, dishes, and dinner.
But at what point is the virtual academy asking for too much?
Is it fair to ask parents to stay home all day every day so that their children can attend every single class connect session exactly as it is broadcast? Parents of multiple children may need these sessions to be broadcast at different times, but if they are, they may not be able to leave the house all day if all of their children are going to be present at those sessions. If one child has a morning session and the next one has a late afternoon session, it’s impossible for the parent to accomplish anything outside of the house.
What happens when there’s something that simply must be done? Should the child be left at home, so that they can be in front of their computer at the proper time? Should the parent miss appointments, meetings, or errand-running time just to attend a class connect session?
What about those students who don’t benefit all that much from the class connect sessions anyway? Those who are bored by them, or who would rather be doing just about anything else? Those who are disruptive, or can not handle disruptions within the class session?
Homeschooling parents know the commitment they are making. They’ve made their choices. But at what point does it become unfair to ask any more?