I had not imagined that my first blog post would be about COVID-19. But I’ve been advised by others to write what is on my heart, so here it is.
I have been laughing at some of the memes on Facebook about “new” homeschoolers; those who are homeschooling because they are now forced by a virus to do so. But as I was falling asleep last night, the reality struck me that there are a lot parent feeling lost and overwhelmed. Why? Because the number one comment that all homeschool moms receive from those who do not homeschool is this:
“I don’t know how you do it.”
The joke going around that you are about to find out.
We all know why you make these comments. Some of you don’t like your being around your for long periods of time. For others, you just aren’t certain you will be able to get your children to cooperate. You worry that maybe you won’t know enough to be able to help them. I imagine that many of you are worried and scared. How will you do it?
You want to know a secret: we have the same fears and questions you are having right now. . .all. . .the. . .time.
These questions don’t make anyone a failure, they make you human.
Homeschool parents don’t have perfect children. They are children. They are little sinners. They don’t always do their work. They do whine when they are asked to do math. They complain that it’s hard. Sometimes they do cheat. Sometimes they just flat out don’t do what they are asked to do. They can be disrespectful.
It’s probably the same stuff you run in to when you do homework with your children in the evening.
Sometimes we don’t know how to help our students with their work either (Khan Academy is our favorite website).
Scheduling classes online or out of the house is a daunting task.
We won’t even touch the task of homeschooling plus doing all the extracurricular activities we have to do to prove to everyone in their dog that our children socialized properly. At least you don’t have to worry about too many extracurricular activities since they are cancelled too.
And despite the fact that most homeschool moms really do love being with their children, they get tired. Introverted moms are especially affected by the constant time with their children. (I imagine the introverted moms are throwing a party over the social distancing while the extroverts moms are in total panic.)
We don’t always like our children. We love them, just like you do, but they are not always likable people. (But then again, neither are we sometimes.)
Here’s what I want to encourage all of you with. . .make the choice to do this with the right heart attitude. This is the choice that every homeschool mom makes every. single. day. You wonder how we do it. . . .we choose to do it. And we renew that choice every single day.
Right now you have no choice to be at home with your children facilitating their school work. But you do get the choice everyday to either enjoy the process and time with your children, or complain about it the rest of the time. And because we don’t have any clue how long this is going to last, you could either be enjoying the time or live in misery for the rest of it.
This is how homeschool moms do it. We make the choice and we run after it. And we have days where our day chooses us but we still have to pick our attitudes.
And if you are a believer, prayer is going to be your number one go to right now. You need wisdom. James 1:5-6 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” You are going to need wisdom for these days. God will give it to you generously if you ask in faith and believe He will give it to you.
Don’t live in fear of these times. Don’t live in fear of being with your children all day. It really is a joy to be with them if you give it a chance. You will survive this, I promise. You won’t kill your children. You might feel like it. Take a short walk if you feel that way. And know, that the homeschool mom down the street might actually be feeling the same way. In fact, wave to her down the street when she also steps outside to take a deep breath before she lops off a head in her home.
Dear parents, you are about to find out how some many homeschool parents are able to homeschool. Embrace it. This really could be a very beautiful time for you and your family.
Before I end this, I thought I would give just a few practical tips for new homeschoolers:
- Again, pray about it. Pray with your children. Ask for His help in getting through your day, to the glory of God.
- Set a schedule. You are not on summer vacation yet so don’t let it turn in to that. Have a set time for everyone to get up, give them morning chores to accomplish, eat breakfast together, and then start your school day.
- Take brain breaks. Don’t just move from subject to subject. Go outside and get some fresh air. Take a walk. Eat a snack.
- Keep the TV to a minimum and only turn it on when all work is done.
- Take a quiet time in your day, especially if you have younger children and you are having to work from home. They spend an hour in their room quietly reading or playing. This allows you a break.
- Start a read aloud. Some of our favorites are The Dark Sea of Darkness, Pilgrims Progress, Cheaper by the Dozen, and many more.
- Find something to learn to do together. . .baking, crafts, art. The sky is the limit here.
- Have fun. This too shall pass. See this as an adventure to do on with your family.
I hope you find this encouraging. If you’ve got questions, please comment below. If you are a homeschooler with more encouragement for these parents, share below. We can all be in this together. We can all have a good laugh over the funny memes out there. I’m not seeing them but I’m almost certain the comedians from the public/private school sector are putting them out there too. We can all have a good laugh together to relieve the stress of teaching our children at home and facilitating their education.