COVID-19 Pandemic: Factors that Support and Impede Family Well-Being During Mandatory Homeschooling

Hélène Deacon, Leadership Team - DAL

23 January 2022

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disrupti

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to work and family life like never before. For many parents, traditional care supports were suspended with no notice, leaving them to balance homeschooling their children while working from home, with varying degrees of support from education systems. The broad objective of this project is to examine how families functioned through this massive disruption.  

Within this broader project, we took this opportunity to explore how these changes in education through the pandemic might impact how children read at home. Specifically, we are interested in whether there is a shift to reading in a digital form, over paper, and also how reading strategies might differ across these media. We test these questions within different educational contexts: those mandated to homeschool (i.e., schooled at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic), (2) those homeschooling voluntarily (i.e., schooled at home for reasons unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic), and (3) those who are schooled in-person (i.e. attended in-person classes during the COVID-19 pandemic). 

We explore these questions with data from a survey launched between March and May 2021. During this time, 962 couples were surveyed and asked to complete a set of questions on their homeschooling environment (e.g., degree of daily routine, access to the internet and non-smartphone technology, type of schooling delivery, type and frequency of paper and digital reading strategies) reflecting on the time period between January 15 to February 15, 2021. Parents reported on their youngest child between Grades 1 and 5.

This project is led by Dr. Hélène Deacon, Ensuring Full Literacy Co-Lead and Director of the Language and Literacy Lab and Dr. Sherry Stewart, Director of the Mood, Anxiety, and Addiction Co-morbidity Lab at Dalhousie University, along with, Dr. Klaudia Krenca (Postdoctoral Fellow), Mariam Elgendi (Graduate Student), Daneesha Williams and Sarah Dunphy (Undergraduate Students).