Actress and radio host Sam Sorbo said the coronavirus crisis has inadvertently become the “impetus” for Americans to rethink education.
Sorbo, a homeschooling parent and host of the weekday syndicated radio program The Sam Sorbo Show, was a panelist at the Heritage Foundation’s webinar on Wednesday titled, “We’re All Homeschoolers Now: Navigating the Coronavirus Challenge to K-12 Education.”
The webinar focused on the massive school closures in the United States caused by the spread of the coronavirus that originated in China and how families are coping with educating their children at home.
Sorbo, the author of They’re Your Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate said she is actually “optimistic” that families who are coming to home education accidentally will find it is the better means to educate children:
I’m optimistic that families will discover the joys of home education because I think that, when we see public schools not sending curriculum out, not sending stuff to the families, literally just cutting them loose, and saying, “You’re on your own for the next several weeks, ‘til we figure out what we’re going to do,” … I’m hoping that causes some suspicion in the family. Why is it that they don’t know what they’re supposed to be teaching next week? Why is it that we have to wait three weeks for them to get their stuff together so that the teacher can email me? It’s not like I’m not already emailing with the teacher. So, as a parent, I’m looking at that and going, “Huh?”
Sorbo was reflecting on the fact that many school districts have never prepared for massive online or virtual learning in the event of a catastrophic situation such as the one the coronavirus has presented to the nation. Many are still trying to develop a plan to provide continuity for students who may be out of school for the remainder of the school year.
“I think we need to rethink the way we define education,” Sorbo said:
Really, our entire approach to education in the United States. Basically, our education institutions – government education institutions – are not getting the job done. And, yet, they’re very good at this whole college and career readiness idea, where they gear us to be prepared to pay a lot of money to colleges, but does college actually get us our careers? Not so much anymore. So, we need to take a step back, and really rethink our entire approach. I think the coronavirus – sadly, but fortuitously – has provided us not just an opportunity but the impetus to look at this.
Sorbo, who is known for her role as Serena in the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, is married to actor Kevin Sorbo. The couple homeschools their three children.
The homeschool advocate said government schools have encouraged parents to believe they are inadequate to educate their own children:
My whole message to parents is, “You don’t feel capable of educating your children at home because you’ve been taught that you’re incapable. In fact, that seems to be an overarching message of our education bureaucracy – to make you aware of how inadequate you are, to make you uncertain of how well you can do. And they’re very effective at that. I didn’t think I was adequate.
Sorbo explained further in an email statement to Breitbart News:
So many parents accept being denied any input in what their child is taught, or knowledge their child might be struggling with serious issues like pregnancy or gender. The reason parents today are so complacent is that we’ve been taught, as students, to behave and not question – by the very system that now demands compliance from us as parents.
If your banker, whom you entrust with your money, told you he wanted to speak to your child privately, you wouldn’t allow it. But because it’s inside the school walls, the administrators demand and we comply. Our children are too precious to sacrifice on the altar of convenience or trained obedience.
During her presentation in the Heritage webinar, Sorbo said she used the word “self-doubter” in the subtitle of her book because, initially, she felt as if she could not educate her children at home. Now, however, she says her children are all thriving because, with a homeschooling education, they were engaged to think for themselves and to find resources to find the answers to their questions.
The radio host adds she often addresses the concern of parents who wonder whether their children will be “socialized” properly if they are homeschooled:
I just have to nip that in the bud. We’re talking about education. We’re not talking about socialization. If our highest desire for our children is education, then socialization is secondary to that.
Additionally, Sorbo asks, “Why are we thinking that, by sticking our child in a room full of other children of his or her age, somehow he or she will magically become ‘socialized?’”
She noted that, in many public schools, children are being bullied, instead of socialized.
“There are no guarantees,” she observed, that attending a public school means children will become “socialized.”