Grace for the Resistant (aka Forced) Home Schooler
March 19, 2020
So here we are forced into “social distancing” by a terrible virus. If we can’t be social, it means are kids cannot go to school. How many people are feeling panicked? I know it is scary. For those of us who tried home schooling and it didn’t work for our family or those who never wanted to home school at all, this is a very big, scary, anxiety filled deal. I get it! I am right there in the trenches with you. There are a few things I want you to say on repeat as we make our way through this home school journey.
You Don’t Have to Be Good at This
I promise you do not need to become a master educator in the next 24 hours or doom your children to never ending failure. You just need to try and keep their brains and bodies engaged. Resist the temptation to fall into the technology coma. I know that would be the simplest route, especially for parents who are also trying to work from home during our current madness. Keep them talking, building, writing, planning, and moving however and whenever you can.
It’s Not All About Tests and Grades
Learning is about so much more than tests and grades. Many schools, mine included, are doing a top notch job at distance learning. I applaud them and am so thankful for their hard work and dedication. But I also made a decision not to stress over completing assignments. We will make an effort to complete things as planned, but if it doesn’t happen – I am not going to stress. We have enough stress dealing with fear and anxiety we do not need to add fighting over school work. Keep your kids reading, coloring, reading, doing puzzles, reading, playing games, reading. Do you see where I am going? There are plenty of ways to learn without formal assignments. Do what works for your family!
Teach Some New Life Skills
We are all at home with nowhere to go. No place to rush off to in ten minutes. Take the opportunity to add some new life skills into the day. My children attend a Montessori school and practical life experiences are already planned into their normal school day. I see this as an opportunity to turn up the practical life a notch or two. Cooking and cleaning are learned skills. No one comes out of the womb knowing how to do these things. If you are like me and normally take the lead on these tasks, take a step back and involve the kiddos. At the end of this forced distancing, maybe we can pass a little more of our to-do list on to the other people living in our homes for the betterment of everyone.
Make A Schedule and Break It When Necessary
A beautifully typed “Daily Schedule” is hanging on my wall. The entire day planned out from 9am to 5pm. Guess what? We have not managed to stick to the schedule yet. Three days in and we have not even come close to sticking with it. I would like everyone to know – THIS IS TOTALLY OK! Why did I write a schedule? To give us some sort of plan. The idea of blindly going through the day for the next 4 weeks was way too daunting if I actually want to accomplish anything. We start with the plan and adjust as we go. If everyone decides to sleep in, I am definitely not waking them up to stay on schedule. The ability to be flexible and adapt to a change in plans is also a life skill my friends. We can add flexibility to the curriculum.
More on Flexibility
Are you a working parent, suddenly drafted as a full time educator? I know –it’s overwhelming! Be flexible with yourself and your kids. Make time for the academic when it makes sense for your family. This might mean lunch breaks, evenings, weekends. It might mean your family accomplishes all the academics of the week on a 3 day schedule instead of 5. Work and school are both important, and so is your sanity. Missing work deadlines means a possible loss of income. Missing school deadlines does not have such tragic complications. It is perfectly acceptable to prioritize work over school. Do what you can and let the rest go. We are in strange times and no one needs to be perfect at everything.
Grace for Everyone
In these strange times everyone needs a heaping helping of grace. Adults and Kids. Grace to have a bad day or not have all the answers. The ability to step back, to give people space to process or decompress. Grace to be tired and overwhelmed. The unknown increases fear and anxiety. The world is overwhelmingly full of the unknown right now. We all need to allow room for the grace we need to process our emotions and give others the space to process theirs. We do not have a ten step plan for surviving a pandemic, but I know together with tons of grace we will come out on the other side.
I would like us all to take a collective deep breath and agree that we do not need to be perfect. Perfection does not come into play in this situation. We all need to be present, give our best effort, and remember we are better together. I spent Monday stressed to the max feeling as if my failure was the theme for the next 4 weeks. Then I took a step back. I made the choice to do the best I can and allow it to be enough. Accepting that I may not do this perfectly or even well is hard, but it is also freeing. My fellow Resistant (aka Forced) Home Schoolers, we will make it through these crazy days. We got this!