You aren’t homeschooling and that’s perfectly ok

You aren’t homeschooling and that’s perfectly ok

A few weeks ago schools were upended with coronavirus concerns and forced into distance learning/e-learning without much warning or time for preparation. That’s caused a lot of stress for teachers, families, students, and school districts.

Let’s all just take a collective deep breath and let it go. These are unprecedented times and we will get through it together.

What I want you to know is this is not home schooling. This is crisis schooling. This is triage schooling. This is just getting by. And that’s ok! Take that pressure off right from the top and reframe the situation in your mind. You might not be a home school teacher, you might just be piecing together the lessons and helping your child check-in to 4 different learning platforms as best you can and that is fine.

I was a homeschool student. I’m now a public school teacher. These two things are incredibly different. Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that homeschooling is terrible because even homeschoolers are feeling an enormous range of emotions at this time. Perhaps even some of the same emotions that public school students and parents are feeling as well.

Here are some things to think about.

  1. We are all missing our communities.
    • Homeschool students do not sit at home in isolation all day. They go to sports practice, band practice, church, part-time jobs, visit family, run errands after school errands with their family, spend the night at friends’ houses, go to parties, have study groups, walk the mall…the list goes on and on. Students from all types of schools are missing their friends, their routine, their sense of normalcy. We all are mourning the loss of our in-person community.
  2. This curriculum was likely not Plan A.
    • Homeschool curriculum is carefully prepared, planned, and implemented just like the curriculum that teachers in public school carefully prepare, plan, and implement in their classrooms. For the most part, the online program you are using, the lessons that are created, the zoom sessions that are set up are all serving as triage. Something to get started in this emergency, but it’s not perfect. Teachers know it isn’t perfect, but this is what we have and everyone is doing the best they can do. Teachers don’t want you to have to log in to multiple websites or set up Zoom conference schedules all throughout the day, but sometimes we have no choice based on what’s available to us and what is mandated by our school district. Teachers also understand that you might not have multiple devices to use throughout the day, or you might not have internet access, or your older child might be watching the younger ones so that you can get some work done. Any good teacher will not penalize your child during this time.
  3. Yes, it is impossible to work full time and manage your child’s learning.
    • That’s why teachers exist. It’s our full time job to manage the learning. You aren’t a failure, you just are not a full time teacher. Even homeschool families have all kinds of different systems and structures that allow them to homeschool and the parents to work if that’s what they choose to do. Don’t put added pressure on yourself to do both 100%. It’s impossible and you will wear yourself out trying.
  4. Your child isn’t falling behind.
    • Your child might not be learning as much as they would have if school was still in session, but there are many other valuable nonacademic lessons that they can learn during this time. How do you handle stress? What are ways to occupy time? How do you make X meal for dinner? What can I do with this old cardboard box? There’s plenty of things happening in your home that will teach your child how to be a human, how to have compassion, manage stress, hold a conversation, cook, clean, build, make jokes, and so much more. If you are worried about their academics, the best thing you can do is have them read (or read aloud to them if they are young). Have them read fiction, poetry, science, history, anything! Read aloud to them even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day. Literacy is the biggest key to academic success. If you need suggestions for books and authors, I’ll be posting a list of some of my favorites. In the meantime, Levar Burton (yes, that Levar Burton of Reading Rainbow and Star Trek fame) is doing read alouds on Twitter, with time slots for kids, teens, and adults.
  5. You are doing the best you can and that is enough.
    • At the end of all this, make sure that you can say that you did your best. You found a way to enjoy the extra time with your family. That somedays you were angry and frustrated, but you let those feelings sit for a little bit and then you let them pass. Your kids love you even when it might not seem like it. You are still the best mom, dad, auntie, guardian, of all time. You are making it work with what you have.

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