I never thought I’d say this, but we are setting up for homeschooling.
On Monday, March 30, 2020, because of the Coronavirus and our schools shutting down for the school year, this new adventure begins. I have one fifth grader and three high schoolers. (Plus a college student, but he doesn’t need or want my help!)
We are also under “order” from our county commissioner to stay at home unless we have to work or get necessities.
If you, like me, are going to be navigating these new waters, read on.
First of all, let’s be honest. Yes, this will be difficult. I’ve heard from many moms that are under extra stress because of losing jobs or being furloughed. Some parents have to work while their kids are at home, which is a different type of stress.
Plus there is the anxiety of the actual virus, especially if you or a loved one have compromised immune symptoms. It’s scary.
Give yourself the permission and the grace to feel whatever you need to feel.
The landscape is totally different now. This won’t be easy.
It’s easier than, say, the concentration camps. I bought Viktor Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” this week just so I could gain true perspective.
The first time I read the book, I was in college and stressed out to the max. A friend recommended the book and it was exactly what I needed to shift my thinking.
For those of you that don’t recognize that book, Viktor was a psychiatrist that somehow miraculously survived four different Nazi death camps during the Holocaust. He saw human behavior in all of its forms.
The gift that Viktor Frankl gave to the world is this understanding, “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.”
So yes, get angry, sad, ticked. Feel the emotions. Acknowledge them. But don’t stay in that place.
Just like I did in college, we need to “Viktor Frankl” this situation. Forces beyond our control have moved into our world. But let’s choose to see the good and the opportunity for growth.
My second thought: homeschooling can LOOK however you want it to look.
I sat down with my kids and asked them how they wanted the school day to be structured.
Am I crazy? Asking my KIDS to structure the school day? Won’t they be in the principal’s office by noon? Ha. That’s the cool thing. I am the principal. We get to make this school thing OURS.
And I want this to be more about CONNECTION than someone else’s idea of perfection.
I’ll just tell you that every morning for the past six months, around 7:15 a.m., my 11-year David has sat down in the living room, dressed in his school uniform, with his cup of joe. (Yes, we all drink coffee around here.) And his comment, every morning, has been, “School would be great….if it started around 9.”
Bang. Wish granted.
This week I sat down with David. I asked him WHEN he wanted his school day to begin. He was excited to get to choose. (And perhaps it gave him a nice sense of control, which is important when everything goes topsy-turvy.)
So ask your kids. What time do they want school to start? We’re going to start at ten but I have a feeling we may move it earlier. Or maybe not. We'll see.
We’ve been discussing how and when to get lunch. Many schools in our area are offering free lunches for kids in the 0-18 range.
My husband and I discussed if we should take advantage of that or not. I was told the schools offering the lunches are able to get reimbursed from the USDA and it benefits them if families use the service.
So we’ll try it for a bit and see if the kids enjoy the adventure of leaving our home to go get a “drive by” meal.
We’ll try taking them to a nearby park and getting some sun before we go back home.
My kids want to use the afternoon for most of their schooling, knowing that their workload will be greatly condensed from normal. Or that’s the hope! We’ll see!
I’ve been asking the four school kids to think about our new routines. We get to design our days. Some of them love to paint. Others love to work out. Yes, they must do the school work that is assigned. But what ELSE do they want to do?
We are not traditional homeschooling mothers, with a set of guidelines. We are in a whole new place, forced to be at home to keep our people safe. So let's have some fun with this. Put yourself in your child's shoes. If you were a kid, forced to be at school at home, how would you want the day to go?
Get creative! You have latitude! The margins are wide! Make this look however you want this to look!
Third, Create a Cool Space for them.
At their traditional school, your child most likely had a cubby or a locker. They had a desk. Those were their “bases.”
Look around your home. What space would work best for them and you?
I asked my kids where they wanted to work. They each chose a specific area. Three of them are kind of close together, which should be interesting.
We will be spending some time cleaning up their new school spaces, getting rid of clutter and family piles.
One note: I will not allow school to “happen” in their bedroom. Nope, we don’t do isolation or electronics in closed rooms. That’s just asking for trouble.
I allowed electronics into bedrooms once upon a time and my children suffered greatly for it. You can read/hear more about it from my son: Eric’s Side of the Story.
Okay, mother friend, wrapping this up:
I believe in us mothers. We can do anything. Read more: Become a Light for Others.
P.S. The other day I saw one of my favorite people doing a Facebook Live video. I loved seeing her. It just felt homey. I thought of the crisis we are in. I thought of how I used to conduct a daily early morning call for my nutrition business. It was a great way to get grounded and start the day.
So. Every morning I am going to offer some thoughts via a FB LIVE video for us mothers as we begin this new challenge of homeschooling. It will be on The Parenting Dare’s Facebook Page.