Up until this past week, I liked to refer to myself as a recovering home-schooler. I loved home-schooling my children, the way we love anything that stretches and exhausts and betters us, but I had come to accept that it would no longer be part of our journey.
We initially chose home-schooling in a bid for increased freedom and individualized learning, which worked ― some days better than others ― until I alone could no longer meet their needs. Just this past fall we made the difficult decision to enroll them all in “real” school. The irony that the year we put our kids in school just happens to be the same year that the entire world started home-schooling is not lost on me.
Now, I, along with millions of other parents across the nation, ready my home school and slog through the ups and downs of distance learning amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Many moms and dads are navigating this new reality while at the same time balancing the demands of a full-time job and attempting to parent through an exceptionally volatile and potentially traumatic worldwide crisis.
Having taught my four children for three crazy, wonderful, tiring years, I understand the anxiety that accompanies this new normal and the upheaval wrought by a drastic change in circumstances.
Given that, I’d like to share my personal home-schooling thoughts and experiences in the hope that some may find them helpful. Please know that my perspective is shaped by my failures as much as, if not more than, my successes.
Don’t “do school” at home.
Why? You don’t need to. Also, you can’t. I have seen all of those amazing, Pinterest-worthy daily schedules circulating on Instagram and Facebook. Yes, they are beautiful and inspiring, but they are also wildly impractical.
When we first started home-schooling four years ago, I did my very best to replicate the school environment. Our days were planned down to the minute, including bathroom breaks. It lasted exactly one week and we all cried....