As COVID-19 precautions take over our lives, are you going stir-crazy yet? What about your kids? I wish that I had some sage advice for all of the people who find themselves with kids at home suddenly. But honestly, my flavor of homeschooling is nothing like:
1) being shoved into an educational chasm with no preparation time or resources. (Can I just digitally hug you all? How hard!)
2) public school at home (School screen-based learning is happening for some around the world while others are waiting for their school system to make a plan.)
3) cancellation of all field trips, library trips, playdates, library visits, etc. (My own homeschool style isn’t particularly home based, so we’re out of our element, too.)
Typically when a family shifts from schooling outside of the home to homeschooling, veteran homeschoolers recommend a time of deschooling, stopping all formalized learning so that kids have to face boredom and overcome it; parents have to face their tendencies to control and let go. Why? Because there is no overnight leap to parent being accepted as academic teacher. There is no overnight leap to kids being confident self-feeders of play and learning for whole days on end. I know so many engaged, awesome parents who are at the end of their ropes not primarily because of the educational piece thrust upon them but because of the time factor.
There is just so much time to fill now, time that previously was for working, catching up on errands, grad classes, self-care, etc. Now that time is filled with those normal household and work tasks (for those who still have jobs) plus a little person or two or seven who are dysregulated, mourning, feeling all of the feels, rediscovering boredom and then putting those feelings into not-always-helpful behaviors. It is a lot on all sides! Given that none of us are in a normal time educationally, I’m not sure that I have any great homeschooling or school-at-home advice to share for this totally wacky season. But, I do have some ideas for lifeschooling, learning from whatever life throws at you in a given season, that I hope will be an encouragement to your whole family as you navigate whatever the educational piece is going to look like in your house for this next season. I will post those ideas in the coming days. In the meanwhile, if you have a specific question, please let me know in the comments below. Please be kind and patient with yourselves in the coming weeks and remember that play and life together are WINS! A day with nothing to “show for” but memories is some of the best learning there is. A day with only an hour of academic book-work is OK (honestly, that is normal for us). A day where there are tantrums and tears is OK. Tomorrow is a new day. My very wise friend Bethany, who writes with with a global-perspective and has been through lock-downs before poses this question, “When our kids are old, what do we want them to remember about this time?” For me, I’ve decided that I want them to look back and remember these lifeschool lessons:
- I can live through big, hard things
- I can survive my fears and feelings
- A parent’s job is to help their child feel safe and loved
- The God of the Bible doesn’t promise us a life of ease and happiness, but God does promise us presence and comfort. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV). In the end, good wins! Look for evidence of that triumph every day.