I can literally feel the stress streaming off of you guys. You weighed all the options, looked at risks, poured over virus data, and finally, reluctantly, picked a side. You took that plunge and now you’re officially a homeschooler.
I’m not talking about a virtual or hybrid school options, because those rely on a brick-and-mortar teacher. I have no expert advice for that, only oodles of good wishes for supportive teachers, smoothly working technology, and a massive school budget.
No, I’m talking about the people who never imagined they would be homeschooling, yet here they are, registered and starting off the new school year.
I’ve seen so many panicked, stressed-out posts on social media and I just want to reach out and give all of you a great big hug. It will be ok! I promise! Not that it means much since you don’t know me and this year has majorly sucked, but it’s true anyway.
Just so you know that I do, somewhat, know what I’m talking about – I’m a veteran homeschooler, a second generation homeschooler (who graduated college with a Suma, for that extra bit of validation that it can be done) and my oldest kiddo is literally the most reluctant learner out there.
So, with that said, take a deep breath and repeat after me: I will not screw up my child’s education.
This is a warped kind of normal
I don’t care if your kids spend the year blowing bubbles, playing Fortnight (or Minecraft,) or playing out in the back yard all day, you will not screw up their education. Think of it this way: the entire US is a massive ball of back-and-forth school closures, virtual learning that may or may not work as intended, and sadly, a bunch of educational inequalities that will bar some kids from learning with their peers.
Do you really think that anyone will experience a “normal” education this year? Nope? I didn’t think so either. Except, perhaps, for those veteran homeschoolers who are barging ahead with their plans, virus be damned.
The ups and downs
So really, next year will be our national “catch-up” year for practically everyone. Even if you let the kids go feral, they will fit right in. I promise.
Not that you plan to do that. I know you don’t. I’ve seen your proud posts about this schedule or that morning basket, or those amazing math manipulatives. You have plans to make this the most AMAZING YEAR EVER and nothing – NOTHING – is going to stop you!
Except, perhaps, your kids. I mean, think about it. These are the same kids who refuse to take a picture without sticking their tongue out, who whine about doing chores, or who insist that trying to fly a kite while whizzing downhill on a scooter is a great idea (ask me why this isn’t a great idea.)
So … the whole “plans of mice and men” thing is probably going to happen. And you know what? It will be ok!
In fact, I can almost guarantee that at some point you will lock yourself in the bathroom with a hunk of chocolate while tears roll down your face, wondering why on earth you thought this was a good idea? It’s practically a homeschool rite of passage.
Focus on what’s important
What really matters – what will make the difference between giving up and soldiering on – is understanding that this is normal. That homeschooling is about relationships, not academics. You’re taking the time to build relationships with your kids and ensure their mental well-being at a time when everything else about their world is turned upside down.
That’s what really matters. And that’s why you won’t fail. Your kids – your family – will emerge from the other side of this pandemic strong and ready to tackle whatever happens after.
I won’t lie and say that everything will be easy and your kids will dance smiling through a field of daisies. It’s 2020, after all, and we’re all waiting for the next big thunk on the head from reality. What I can promise is that it will be ok. Even if you feel like you’re failing, you’re not. You’re doing great!