I follow several homeschooling moms online, and I’ve seen a LOT of “here’s how to homeschool” posts from them lately. I think they’re attempting to help other parents who have unexpectedly been faced with school closures, and I think that’s admirable.
I would love to think that one silver lining on the coronavirus cloud is that more parents will attempt homeschooling and fall in love with it. However, my advice to anyone who is suddenly at home all day with their children (or maybe still working full time and wondering how to keep up their kids’ education while school is closed) is to ignore all of those posts.
I’m already a homeschooling mom, and I don’t even want to homeschool right now.
I don’t think it’s fair to you, to your kids, or to homeschooling, to try to figure it all out in one month. Let alone a month like this one.
I don’t know about you, but despite my best efforts, I find myself obsessing over the coronavirus – be it watching the news or Googling it or talking about it or dreaming up worst-case-scenarios. Even when I’m not consciously thinking about it, it’s there, gnawing at the back of my mind. It makes me feel restless. Irritable. Make that very irritable. Exhausted. There seem to be a million things to do (make homemade hand sanitizer? research toilet paper alternatives? can a bunch of vegetables?) but I don’t want to do any of them. A million voices are out there promoting a million different ways to feel, opinions to have, facts to analyze, and supplies I should buy. I feel paralyzed.
Even though my family spends 90% of our time at home all year round, I suddenly feel trapped. Would I be able to do something like start homeschooling from scratch RIGHT NOW? Um, no.
Now, homeschooling does not have to be overly complicated. I don’t want to make it seem like you need any prescribed amount of preparation or education to teach your kids. Under normal circumstances, I think that anyone who wants to do it can homeschool their kids. But if you want it to work, you have to figure out how your kids like to learn. You have to figure out how you like to teach. You have to pick some kind of material to teach from out of the oodles of homeschool materials out there. You have to do it from a place of confidence and peace. You have to be able to observe, reflect, make adjustments, observe some more. Sometimes, you have to scrap everything and start over. I don’t think you can do any of that in such a short period of time, and I don’t honestly think it’s worth trying.
I say, give yourself and your kids a break. You all deserve a break. If you have extra time together, spend it doing something enjoyable. Watch a movie. Play a game. Talk about something.
I DO want other families to try living on one income, and homeschooling, and all of the other wonderful things we talk about on this blog. But I don’t want anyone who has lost their job indefinitely and/or had their school announce a month-long closure to think that this one month of insanity could be anything like the true experience of being a homeschool family.
This is not a season that is, for many of us, going to be productive in the traditional sense. There are a lot of things we would normally get done, like schoolwork, that are just not going to happen.
I think we need to let go of the idea that time is only well spent if we have a worksheet or a report or a completed checklist to show for it. If the only thing our kids learn during our time in quarantine is to enjoy us, and to enjoy each other, would that be so bad?