Wow. None of us expected to be where we are right now. It’s overwhelming, it’s a little bit scary, and we have our kids to keep calm and occupy. Last summer, we’d made a decision that we’d send our kids to public school, but that I would “afterschool” and do summer enrichment wtih them. Our little Miss 6 wanted the school experience, and went in for Kindergarten, since she didn’t meet the state’s age requirements to start 1st Grade. She was enjoying it. We all liked her teacher, who worked hard with Miss 6 to help her anxiety the best way possible.
Then, we all know what happened, because it’s happening across the country. School is out for the rest of the school year. Perhaps longer depending on what’s going on this summer. We didn’t get to say goodbye to our kindergarten teacher. No kinder graduation. No muffins with mom. We’re just suddenly done for the year – but going online.
This is not what homeschooling looks like.
First, it’s important to understand that this is not what homeschooling looks like. Yes, we’re at home when doing it, but we go to park days, zoo classes, museums, the library. I feel like I’m floundering as much as everyone else – not because school is out and I have to teach the kids at home. That, I can do. Being at home 24/7 with no library resources (our library has shut down), no zoo, no museums, no park days with other kids? No Girl Scouts.
I’m bracing myself for everyone to get a horrible case of cabin fever, really quickly.
Recognize that this is an uncertain time and a time of transition.
I’m going to be honest right now; I’m dealing with large levels of anxiety. Uncertainty is extremely triggering for me. Despite all of our good intentions to get in there and have a schedule and have our kids learn learn learn! They’re likely also feeling anxiety. They didn’t say goodbye to their friends. Seniors have had prom canceled. Fifth graders won’t get their important transitions for junior high. Every child, from preschoolers who were just getting used to the out of the house routine to teens missing out on the important milestone of graduation, is also feeling uncertain, anxious, and likely sad.
Give space for big emotions.
When I first got into this homeschooling journey, when Mr. 21 was 8 and halfway through second grade (I’d never intended on homeschooling), the best piece of advice I recieved was to give some time for “deschooling.” It’s important to recognize that there’s a transition happening, and here, now, with COVID-19 threatening us, shaping our lives, shifting our routines – radically, there are going to be a lot of big emotions going on. It’s okay if your days are a bit of a hot mess at first. This isn’t “homeschooling as usual.” It’s every parent and guardian in the nation being thrown into something we’ve never seen before. Everyone is going to have big emotions.
Reach out if you need help.
You’re not alone. Most schools are providing at least some sort of learning continuation. We’ll see what our school does, but we’ll likely return to the curriculum I was planning to use. I’ll share that in another post. So many people are sharing resources – zoos are live-streaming learning videos, operas are online, there are so many great free resources – many of them geared for younger kids. If you need help, ask. I am very familiar with ECE materials, but I’ve also homeschooled a kid from 2nd-7th grade with secular materials.
In the coming days, it’s my plan to share as many resources as I can for older kids who may have online work, but might be wanting more resources to learn. I will do my best to share that information with you.
Meanwhile, if you’re a veteran homeschooler, what is one piece of advice you’d like to share with someone who has been thrown into this lifestyle? Share in the comments.
This post is part of a blog hop, hosted by Timberdoodle. Check out the other posts.