It might feel like you’re failing this “homeschooling” thing, that the only thing your kids are learning from the pandemic is to use less toilet paper. But while that is a good life skill, I’m here to tell you that your kids are learning loads.
Parents have been pretty stressed these past few weeks. Many are learning to work from home – setting up a home office, navigating Zoom meetings and other new online platforms. Others are out of work, wondering how to pay the bills and buy groceries. Your family is adjusting to “life in quarantine”.
And in the midst of negotiating this new ‘normal’ they are supposed to home school their kids too? Like several of them? All different grades? Obviously, many parents are wondering what will happen to their children’s education – will they fall behind? Are they missing critical concepts? How is this all going to work?
Stop. Breathe. Take a step back.
Just maybe, as you’ve been thrown together as a family without the distraction of school, clubs, music lessons, sports practices – just maybe you’ve all felt more connected as a family. Maybe you are working on puzzles together, playing games the kids have always begged you to play, but you never had time. Maybe during these times you talk more. You find out what really makes your kid tick.
Maybe you are reading more with them – talking about some of your favorite books growing up. Maybe you are cooking together – recipes on yellowing paper from files that were passed down from grandparents. Meanwhile your kids are learning to appreciate family recipes, traditions – maybe learning how a household is run as you make your grocery lists for needed items.
Maybe you’ll be planting a garden this year – after all you finally have the time, right? Maybe the kids are learning how food grows – how it’s harvested and gets to the table.
Maybe they are spending more time snuggling with the family pet – teaching the dog tricks – learning the responsibility of feeding, grooming and caring for a furry friend.
Maybe you’ve helped out others – chalking encouraging words on the sidewalk, putting hearts in your window, gotten groceries for an older neighbor, delivered homemade masks – maybe there’s a benefit to being forced to slow down.
Yes, our busy lives will return and the formal lesson in math, grammar and history will resume at some point, but maybe by then our kids will have grown so much in so many other skills – empathy patience, flexibility, and resilience. Maybe you will have grown closer as a family – learned to lean on each other, appreciate your family traditions more – and maybe you won’t even feel the need to resume every activity you did before. Because maybe, just maybe, you will appreciate this new slower pace.
So don’t worry so much about what your kids are missing. Think about what your family might be gaining. There will be time to catch up on all the lessons of school. But for now, we have more time for the lessons of love and family.