When I felt called to start this blog last year, I really felt like I had a lot to say. So many people had so many questions, and for once I had a way to help. But after my initial brain-dump of the information addressing the questions I heard most often, I found myself on the same life-raft as everyone else, just trying to survive a pandemic school year. And now, with the light at the end of another school year beginning to glint on the horizon, I finally have some mental space to write again!
Where has the time gone?! I am thankful that homeschooling has provided stability and structure for my kids, but I feel the strain of the sameness of a long-term schedule with nothing to differentiate one day from the next. I cannot remember the last time I ate inside a restaurant, and we have taken only a handful of “field trips”, when we can catch a reservation between hard lockdowns. On the weekends, there are few places to go, and restrictions on having people over. And so, one day blends into the next, one week into another, and only an occasional weather event marks the seasons as they pass.
Despite the blur, I have learned so much from my suddenly homeschooling friends and my friends forced back-and-forth between in-person and distance learning. The most encouraging part of watching so many friends teach their children at home sounds a little cruel: I have been encouraged as I have watched them struggle. Now, hear me out. I am not encouraged out of pride, as though they can’t keep up with what I do so naturally. It is quite the opposite. I am encouraged that they have struggled because I struggle so. very. often. I have been tired and frazzled for over a decade. There are many days that I just don’t want to do school. There are days I want to just stay in bed. Seeing people who are new to school at home struggle reminds me to have grace with myself. It turns out, THIS IS JUST HARD!
I have learned to appreciate my successes so much more as I pat myself on the back for doing this hard thing. And I can encourage all the more those who are new to the struggle.
To the parents who have seen that they were right all along when they had no desire to homeschool their kids, I can encourage them that this is temporary and that even on bad days, their kids are learning resiliency (if not fractions). I can tell them that they have been so brave to make the arrangements needed to be home with their children while it is necessary. I can remind them that the memories they have created during this time will be a part of their child’s historical record, something they will be asked about far more frequently than their educational record throughout the rest of their lives.
To parents who were always curious about homeschooling, but for a variety of reasons had never stepped into trying it, I can tell them that this is the perfect time to ignore their critics (internal or external) and embrace the opportunity. It won’t make it easy, but it is a historic opportunity for the “weird” to become “normal”, so they can find so much support right now!
And to parents who have always homeschooled, well, at least now everyone knows it was never as easy as we (sometimes!) made it look!