I said it. You heard it. I am about ready to throw in the towel and let my kids become a couple of uneducated no-gooders!
Well, not really, of course! I am just so exhausted with the whole process of homeschooling or as someone mother on some forum of which I am a part said (and I paraphrase), what we are doing now isn’t homeschooling in the traditional sense. Traditional homeschoolers get lots of pre-planned breaks, well-developed field trips, community participation events, a co-op of like-minded homeschooling parents, the freedom to develop your own curriculum and the absolute flexibility to do and teach your kids what you want, what they want, and when and where you want it…effectively, the whole city, state, country, or world is your classroom. What we are doing now, is, in fact, schooling at home and it just not the same.
I get it. I really do. I get the commitment to our kids’ education. I get that most of us are incredibly invested in their futures. No matter how qualified we are to hone that future or not in any specific direction (for example, if J decides he wants to be an aeronautical engineer, I’ll wish him well and let him handle his own academic direction- then again, given how meddlesome I can be, I’ll probably do all kinds of research into his chosen career path, learn all I can about it, and continue giving him advise from the sidelines…but pushy Tiger Mom Syndrome aside), we are simply not expected to do it all (and I don’t mean the classic feminist argument along the “do it all” lines). We have teachers, we have guidance counselors, we have PE, we have extra-curricular activities taught by professionals, we have an entire community of recruits we pay and/or support to develop the skills our kids need that we cannot entirely teach.
Given the current shelter-in-place, lockdown situation with no schools, no extra curriculars, bored-out-of-their-mind kids who are more drawn to technology than a simple board game or never mind a good ol’ fashioned game of tag, being forced into doing school work when every day seems like it simply should be an extended weekend, does not bode well for anybody.
I feel extremely grateful that despite the many unpleasant moments I have during the process of schooling at home, my kindergartner is truly committed to his schoolwork. He will do it, he will get it done, and he will be mighty proud of it. Having accountability from a teacher who has now started doing short Zoom lessons twice a week helps tremendously toward this commitment. On the first day of our homeschooling, I told J that I will need to turn everything we do to his teacher and thankfully, he continues to believe me. As a result, even with some protests, he does come through and gets his work done. Hallelujah!
….and yet, I am angry, frustrated, and beyond exhausted. I dread every single day having to force and coerce the kid to get things done. Once he gets started, he gets it done but it is so challenging to bring the horse to the pond…
The Language Arts essays are the worst. Daydreaming is at its best when he has to do something he does not like, essays being one of those things. He develops good sentences and he enjoys creating new thoughts but when it comes down to writing them, the whole world seems to call out to him. Having three windows in the “classroom” does not help. We moved the essays from the afternoons to the mornings and that has helped make it a little less stressful. Yet, the endless lethargically slow moving pencil amidst mindless distractions just drives me nuts!
Anyway, life still goes on. He is a good kid like I said and I am supremely proud of him and how far he has come with this newness of everything. We looked at a lot of baby pics of him recently and when I see the same kid sitting in front of me, working hard at his LA or his Math or just chirping away at the many little and big things that fascinate him, I am filled with so much love and pride in his being.
At the end of this, no matter when “this” ends, we’ll all be better off for it. I say the above with as much hope as I can possible muster for today. For tomorrow, there is always another school day to be planned, created, and executed.