Public school parents found it harder to learn at home during COVID
Parents accustomed to homeschooling felt more resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic than those whose public school children were suddenly housebound, according to a new study.
The finding was especially true for home-schooled parents who remained physically active. But those who experienced increased stress because students were home — and whose training regimens suffered — likely had a different experience.
For the study, researchers surveyed 123 parents of school-aged youth in 2020. They found that the type of schooling students received before the pandemic had a direct impact on parents’ perceived resilience.
“We knew the importance of physical activity to promote physical health benefits like disease prevention and weight management and even mental health benefits like reduced risk of depression and anxiety,” says lead author Laura Kabiri, an assistant professor and sports medicine advisor at Rice University.
“However, we now also know that public school parents who did not get enough physical activity during COVID-19 also perceive themselves to be significantly less resilient.”
The increased stress of parents suddenly working and teaching their children at home has been a recurring theme of the pandemic, Kabiri notes, but no one to date had quantified how resilient they felt.
“Psychological resilience can be defined in different ways,” she says. “Generally, resilience helps individuals deal with difficult situations constructively and find and access resources that support their own well-being. This resilience was especially important for parents during the prolonged stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. 19. »
The study notes that COVID-19 pushed the number of home-schooled children in the United States from 2.5 million to 5 million in January 2021. This number does not include the millions more who attended virtual classes in public schools from home.
The pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to study the relationship between parental stress and resilience in relation to their circumstances. The study draws a clear line between parents used to the diet and those whose children were studying at home for the first time, Kabiri says.
“We were surprised at how differently physically active parents perceived their own resilience compared to those who were more sedentary, especially among public school parents,” she says. “We were less surprised but happy to quantify that homeschooled parents did indeed feel more resilient than their public school counterparts.
“Being a parent of public school students and experiencing the educational disruption myself, I had to wonder if parents who were already homeschooling their children or those who maintained regular exercise routines reacted differently,” says Kabiri.
The good news, the researchers point out, is that “resilience is a process rather than a personality trait.”
“We can all benefit from physical activity and improved resilience,” says Kabiri. “For now, walk yourself. And with your children. And maybe even the dog for at least 150 minutes a week. Or run them for 75 years. The benefits will extend beyond physical health to mental health as well.
The study appears in the International Journal of Educational Reform. Annie Chen and Brian Ray, recent Rice graduates of the National Homeschooling Research Institute, contributed to the work.
Source: rice university