Probably not the answer you were looking for, I know. But, seriously. Stop it. Stop trying to turn a global pandemic into another Pinterest fail. We moms do a lot, whether you are a stay at home mom, working mom, work from home mom, you have a job already and adding "homeschool during a traumatic time" into the mix is just a recipe for disaster. Also, as it turns out, teachers are experts in their field. Now, I know since I'm a teacher you might not take that statement seriously, but it's true. For so long, so many people have had this, "I went to school, so I understand school and what makes it work" mentality. And I get it, it might seem easy, but it's really not. As I see my Facebook friends struggle with trying to keep up with their own work, the house now that it is fully occupied 24 hours a day, and add "homeschool" into the mix, it's a hot mess. So let's take a look at all the reasons not to "homeschool" right now.
1. You already have a job. Do you work outside of the house? Are you currently expected to work from home? Boom. You already have a job. Do you work from home normally? Boom. A job. Are you a stay at home mom? Boom. Job. Even if you were already staying home with the kids, I'm going to bet, you weren't also trying to homeschool them, so your days were filled with alternate tasks and responsibilities. Adding homeschool into the mix is extra work, planning, and adjustments to your already busy schedule. As a teacher, I have the unique experience of being a working mom 9 months out of the year and a stay at home mom during the summer. I understand most things that go into being a stay at home mom, and adding something like this is no joke. No matter what your situation before the pandemic, unless you were already homeschooling your children, this is a major adjustment for you both. Expecting to be able to slide right into homeschooling with little to no advanced warning, little to no prep time, while also still maintaining your other job or responsibilities is not easily said or done. Give yourself some grace here.
2. Teachers are experts. Yep. I said it. Teachers might get paid like garbage, but odds are, most teachers in your child's school hold at least one advanced degree. By the end of the summer I will be maxed out in terms of graduate hours I get credit for, a master's degree plus 60 hours of graduate credit. Your child's teacher at the very least has a bachelor's degree in education. Many also hold additional advanced degrees. These could be in curriculum and instruction, technology, math or reading endorsements, a lot of high school teachers hold a master's degree in their content area. Some overachievers have multiple advanced degrees. Teachers don't play around. There are few ways for a teacher to increase their salary if they don't want to move along the administration route, so going back to school is a great way for them to get a pay bump. We take our jobs seriously and we need to provide for ourselves and our families, going back to school is a two birds, one stone kinda thing for us.
3. This is traumatic! For you, your kids, everyone. Trying to pick up where your kid's teacher left off is not going to work. Kids aren't just missing instruction, they are missing their friends, the structures put in place by their school, wrap around services they have come to rely on. Simply pretending like all that other stuff doesn't matter and trying to go over fractions won't work. Right now kids need to know they're not alone. They're not crazy for how they're feeling during this time. They need understanding and support.
4. The time spent working on school at home, does not look the same as time spent at school. At school your kid, depending on age and district, will be in a class with anywhere from 15 to 30 other kids. Simple things like getting out materials, starting an activity, transitioning from one part of the room to another, or one activity to another, or just greeting everyone, takes time. The work that might take 50 minutes in a school setting, might only take 10 or 15 minutes at home. And that's fine! Don't waste your time, or your kids time trying to make things take longer than they need to, or by adding to an assignment when it's not necessary.
5. Take advantage of this time (if you can). Let your kids explore something new, or something that interests them. Your kid doesn't like school and doesn't want to complete the work being provided by their teacher, but he loves being outside? Let him explore outside. Your kids likes to read novels but not physics? Let her read novels. Your kid doesn't like English, but loves to draw and create things. Let professor YouTube teach them a new technique. Seriously. Learn something new with your kid. Let your kid do a deep dive into something they are interested in. Right now, everything kind of sucks for a lot of people, take advantage of the freedom we do have and let your kids (and you, too) really embrace their passions.
I know I'm a teacher and I should be all about school....blah, blah, blah. I am all about school. But more than that, I'm all about being realistic. And I'm all about mom's surviving this pandemic with a shred of sanity. And, I also prefer not to stress eat all the cookies in the pantry. It's important to understand that "remote learning" and "homeschool" are not the same, nor should they be. I think we all need to give ourselves a break, take some time to get our shit together, a little bit of grace, and decide for ourselves what this time should look like for our families.
Stay sane, safe, and healthy.
I'm a mom and high school teacher living in the suburbs of Chicago. Becoming a mom was one of the most exciting things I've done. Being a working mom is as challenging as it is rewarding. This life may not be glamorous, but it sure keeps me on my toes and I love it.