How has pandemic-induced fear impacted my child and their ability to learn?
By James LeonardJanuary 28, 2022
Have you ever wondered how anxiety surrounding the pandemic is impacting your child’s mental health and ability to learn in the classroom? There is no doubt that children today are experiencing high stress levels due to COVID-19.
Take a moment and imagine you’re back in 2019…a pre-pandemic world. No masks, no vaccine mandates being threatened; just people connecting freely with each other. If you had a school-aged child in 2019 that went to public or private school, they would probably come home and tell you how they got to sit right next to their best friend, swap snacks at lunch, and enjoy interactive games in the classroom to help with their learning.
When we entered 2020 the world changed for all of us, but especially for our children.
The youngest in our country, often credited with being extremely resilient, flexible, and adaptable, had their realities shaken.
Students entering public (and even private) school in the 2020 and 2021 school years were faced with uncertainty, disorganization, and chaos. Where there was once a structure in place to help them learn, it was replaced by rules that isolated children from their teachers, classmates, and learning. Students were exposed to high levels of fear in the classroom, often wondering things like, “Will my classes be in-person today or will they be all online? If I take my mask off to drink my water, will the teacher scold me? Will I ever be able to sit close to my friends again?”
An elementary teacher asked her students how they felt about masking in the classroom. One of the children responded saying, “I don't like masks because they make it so you can't see the faces when you smile at each other.”
Our children are missing out on one of life’s essential life lessons: the joy, and smiles, that come along with learning!
So how exactly is the fear response to the pandemic impacting our children in the classroom?
Not only are students behind in subject matters, turning assignments in late, and skipping classes entirely; they are also suffering mentally. In a survey of parents across the country, it was found that 35 percent of parents were extremely concerned for their child’s mental, social, and emotional health and 80 percent of parents said they experienced a newfound concern for their children’s mental health throughout the pandemic. It is reasonable to suspect that these statistics will continue to rise as the pandemic continues dividing people, and causing disruptions in traditional classrooms.
Think of a child entering preschool and kindergarten during the pandemic - these children are at the age that is most crucial for brain development. They have no prior knowledge of what learning should look like, so they are entering into a system that encourages fear and isolation and it’s all they’ve ever known. With this foundation we have to ask: what will the psychological impact be on these children ten years down the road? While we can’t answer that question definitively, we can guess that this generation will become record breakers for being one of the most anxiety-ridden groups of people.
So what can we do to combat this continuing cycle of fear and anxiety in schooling brought on by the pandemic?
Allowing your children to learn at home is a fantastic option to reduce their anxiety levels, eliminate fear-based classroom agendas, and help them to thrive once again. For elementary students, homeschooling gives them a foundation rooted in freedom, joy, and excitement towards learning rather than the fear-based mentality of schools today.
Rather than enduring the ever-changing schedule of zoom classes or socially-distanced in-person school, your child will build confidence again through knowing their specific schedule everyday. Your child will feel more comfortable not having to wear a mask all day and will appreciate the affirmation that comes from this smile barrier being removed. With increased comfort levels come increased confidence levels, and with both of those ingredients you have a recipe for success!
If you're like many parents, you might feel overwhelmed by the thought of switching to a homeschool program. Never fear - we've got your back. We are here to help guide you through the transition to homeschooling. Remember from the beginning you have been your child's primary teacher. If you can potty train them you can do this!
A great place to start is finding out exactly which subjects your child excels in or where they need to catch up, which you can uncover using our diagnostic test. Once you’ve discovered that information, you can reach out to our team for assistance in choosing curriculum for your child and move forward from there.
If you’re worried that homeschooling will take too much time or effort on your part, rest assured! We have created an approach to relieve your stress and make homeschooling more accessible for you and your child with the BCE Homeschool Academy! Check out our full Christian homeschool curriculum by requesting a free catalog, full of all of homeschooling resources to help you succeed.
With homeschooling, your student will be allowed to be a child again; help them to experience joy in their learning once more!