Crossroads of Education: Martha Stice

by Margaret Daley | October 9, 2020

Crossroads of Education

Martha Stice – Homeschooling Parent

Do you remember when you first became aware of the pandemic?

My husband and I were going to Paris at the beginning of February so we were aware of the whole thing going on and wondering if it was going to change our travel. And that didn’t change much, we saw a lot of people flying with facemasks but it seemed okay. Then I was in Chicago the second week of March and there were 6 cases in Chicago and it was disorientating and confusing because we were meeting people and not shaking hands and not sure what to do but then by that weekend the State of Illinois was shut down. We went to the movies on Friday and then by Sunday we’re not going anywhere we’re not doing anything.

Did you have to change anything about how you homeschool your children during that period?

The biggest changes had to do with the community that we were meeting in; a homeschool cooperative. I was the director. So I was trying to help organize people to be on Zoom and try to have tutors meet with small groups of kids in Zoom breakout rooms, and trying to help distract little kids that were trying to run in and be on camera to distract the older kids. But as far as my own family it didn’t affect much in the way that we school.

What was the biggest challenge that you found?

The biggest challenge was that we were used to meeting in the homeschool community, both the group that we were meeting with and just meeting with other homeschool families. And the other thing is not being able to be in the community; to go to the park, to go to the library, just be in the community. 

What was the biggest frustration?

We were just tired of each other. We were used to having more breaks in the community with other people. It wasn’t jarring to our situation. It was still the same old, same old but it quickly became SAME OLD, SAME OLD!

Did you learn any new things, new skills?

I ordered a kit to try some handicrafts using old fabrics to create pictures. And I completed an introductory Latin course. So I learned Latin! Not a terribly big deal, but I guess I’m a little proud. My daughter worked more on crocheting and making earrings and things like that. And the kids worked on hatchet skills with their dad.

Was there anything you realize you take for granted?

Oh all the things. Not having to prepare to go somewhere. Touching or being in close proximity to others. Even just being able to go to my parent’s house, all of a sudden it was thought process of, is that a good idea, should we go visit Grandma? 

Are there any things you’ve learned during the pandemic that you think you’ll carry forward to post-pandemic?

If you go back to the whole taking things for granted and then carry that forward, then I hope I don’t take it for granted the ability to meet in large groups. I think we missed out on the arts. We go on field trips to Champaign for theatre and things like that. So I hope we won’t take that for granted in the future.