my adventures in ‘homeschooling’

April 17, 2020

The truth is when I first heard about the possibility that we might have to homeschool our kids, there was a small part of me that was excited. I’ll even go as far to say that I’d considered homeschooling even before this pandemic.

But these past few weeks of ‘homeschooling’ have been hard! Actually, if I’m being completely honest, they have been downright HORRIBLE.

I know we are supposed to be ‘trying our best’. I recognize that there’s a huge ‘adjustment period’. And we’ve been told as parents not to get stressed out or about getting our kids to participate and complete assignments (I don’t know about you but anytime anyone has told me not to ‘stress out’ over something it usually has the exact opposit effect!)

The reality is when I open my email on Monday morning and see 3-4 emails filled with lists of exercises, assignments, worksheets and ‘challenges’ – many of which I can immediately envision my children sigh, roll their eyes and protest about – my Type-A personality goes into meltdown mode. I start power-chugging my coffee, barking orders at everyone and feeling wholly inadequate even before the ink has dried on the pages of printouts.

And before you start getting on my case, I am NOT placing blame on the teachers here. All of my kids’ teachers have been nothing short of amazing! They’ve been encouraging, supportive and understanding since day one.

I don’t think it serves anyone (most of all our kids) to place blame on anyone. This whole pandemic is a sucky situation

But here it is: what we are doing as parents right now is NOT what homeschooling is. Homeschooling is developing your own unique ways to teach and connect with your children in ways that work for both parent and child. Finding things that interest them and using it to weave in all sorts of lessons in math, language, science, social studies, art and religion.

Standing over my child, begging him to complete his assigned worksheet so he can have 15 mins on his Nintendo Switch is not homeschooling. I am not connecting with or teaching my child anything. I am simply a task-master.

As mothers we are blessed with certain instincts. Sometimes, listening to these instincts may go against every conventional piece of wisdom you’re given but in my experience, they have never once led me wrong.

Without listening to my instincts I never would’ve given my son his first bottle of formula or co-slept with my kids as babies. Not paying attention to my instincts, I never would’ve advocated for my son to get the additional support he needs to succeed at school.

So after 3 weeks of ‘trying my best’ and getting increasingly frustrated and overwhelmed, of screaming matches and tension headaches, I’m rethinking our approach to homeschooling, listening a little closer to my instincts this time around.

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