When you were considering homeschooling you probably heard the experienced home school moms says “We finish school in a couple hours, then the rest of the day is play time.” So, when you shifted your mindset, to actually stay home with your kids, you thought: ‘This is going to be awesome!’ But now you find yourself sitting at the dining room table, listening to your child whine about how they hate math. They literally have 3 math problems left and you’ve been stuck there for an hour. You’re probably wondering what you’re doing wrong. Wondering if your kid needs the school setting. Or if homeschooling was a huge mistake?
Now you sit here in your frustration, your anxiety, your feelings of inadequacy as a teacher. This right here was not what you signed up for. You signed up for something that made you feel connected to your child, something that helped them learn in a one on one setting. But you’re scratching your head thinking ‘WHY DID I DO THIS?’ Then there’s the whole virtual learning challenge. Maybe you didn’t take the full plunge into homeschool, but you decided to keep your child home and do the virtual learning option. Only to be overwhelmed by frustrations when the technology doesn’t work, or your kid can’t hear the teacher over all the other children’s noises.
You still find yourself sitting at the table with your child, as they spend countless hours sitting in front of a screen. You notice that they are beyond frustrated, but there’s not much you can do to soothe them because you also are extremely overwhelmed by this whole situation as well.
You find yourself longing for the days when you could just put your kid on a bus and let someone else educate them. Giving you some time to work, rest, clean, shop or visit friends. Let’s face it, life is completely different for so many of us. The overwhelm that we are facing today can be overtaking. It’s hard to manage your time and patience when so much is new, and more challenging. But you need to remember that you are an incredible human being, that has given up so much to help your child learn in a safe and healthy environment.
How can you keep calm on those days that just never seem to end? How can be a pillar of peace for your child when everything has turned crazy in their lives and yours?
First, remember that they are struggling too. For many kids this new virtual reality and/ or homeschool adventure can be really challenging to undertake. It’s not that they’re at you. They’re mad because their life has changed. They had no say in what happened, none of us did. No one had the chance to avoid a global pandemic. Remember, that your child is just trying to navigate this new reality. So, when he gets frustrated with you, or his virtual teacher, or his homeschool math problems – that’s not your fault.
Second, take breaks. It’s OK to walk away from the schoolwork. It’s OK to say “Hey you know what? We need the day off.” A day off doesn’t mean that they won’t be learning. Give them some Lego, let them build. Give them some paint, let them create. Get them an apron, let them bake. There’re so many ways to learn that don’t involve workbooks and schedules. There’re so many opportunities for them to learn about the world, about creating things, about having fun, and about taking care of themselves.
Third, model good behaviour. Obviously, you don’t want to throw a tantrum in front of your child about how much you despise homeschooling and or virtual learning. But if you’ve accidentally done so. Move forward. Show your child that it’s ok to become frustrated, but that we don’t sit in that frustration. We recognize the frustration and we move forward. Nothing is normal right now, and that is something that your child is feeling also. Connect with them, tell them that you’re also struggling. Model to them that it’s OK to share your feelings, that it’s OK to be frustrated.
Fourth, talk to your child. Ask your child whether there are ways that she thinks you both can improve this new chapter in your lives. Sit down, PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY. Talk to your child like you are talking to your friend. Not a student, not your kid, a friend. Ask them how they are feeling, tell them what you’re thinking. Brain storm ideas to move forward.
Change is hard for everyone. We here at Schoolio understand that. Some of us handle it so much better than others. So, teach your child that even though change can be challenging, it doesn’t have to mean that you will both be miserable. There’s no instruction manual for how to homeschool during a pandemic and an increasingly changing world. Just take it day by day. Don’t be hard on yourself, don’t be hard on your child. You’re both trying, and there’s a lot to be said for that.
Jaymee Davis is a stay-at-home/work-at-home/homeschool mama. She wants you to enjoy homeschooling, even when it can be challenging. And is dedicated to helping you succeed in this new chapter.