Now is not the time to start homeschooling, says Sudbury couple

A Sudbury couple that homeschools their little girls say those considering homeschooling right now, shouldn’t.

The Ostranders homeschool their two girls and have been getting questions about how to teach at home

The Ostrander family, including, Stéphane, Zoé, Amanda, and Alexie. They are saying no to worksheets during this time of self isolation. (Facebook/supplied)

A Sudbury couple that homeschools their little girls says those considering homeschooling right now, shouldn't.

Stéphane and Amanda Ostrander say they've been asked many questions from parents who are trying to teach their children while they are out of school.

Amanda Ostrander says despite the name, homeschooling is not about being at home, sitting down at a table and doing book work.

She says if parents try and take this on right now it will be too stressful for everyone.

"Let the kids pick up some new skills, pick up some life skills, cooking, baking, cleaning, car repair," says Ostrander. "There are so many great free things that have come out recently since this whole pandemic has started. Free museum and art gallery tours and zoo tours and concerts."

Ostrander says she isn't against routine but doesn't want parents to put too much pressure on themselves and their children during an already difficult time with self isolation due to COVID-19.

"It might start out great and if it is working for you, by all means, go ahead. But for the parents who are feeling the stress of the pandemic, who are working from home, who are trying to figure out financial situations and get groceries and do all these things, adding homeschooling can just be too much stress right now and that's not the way to start homeschooling."

Ostrander says now is the time to let children explore their surroundings.

Stéphane Ostrander is a high school teacher in the public school system in Sudbury.

He says he is doing a lot of walking outdoors and exploring with his 3 and 5 year old. His oldest daughter is designing a video game with the help of her parents.

He says in the first days of this new reality, kids will get bored but will begin to find things to do.  It is a learned skill.

He says this would not be the norm for homeschooling parents.

"Homeschooling involves a lot of connections with the community. Amanda takes the girls out two or three times a week doing all sorts of things...this is not true homeschooling."

He says parents shouldn't feel the pressure to fill their children's day with something to do.  Let them be bored and find out what they are really interested in.

Amanda Ostrander wants parents to remember, "they can't fall behind if the whole world is standing still right now."



Jan Lakes


Jan Lakes is a producer at CBC Sudbury. You can reach her at or find her on Twitter @lakesCBC.