Many, MANY people have found themselves trying to carry out their child's education at home, these past several weeks, alongside (for many) trying to work, figuring out how to pay the bills, caring for other children (some with special needs), praying for sanity, and attempting to survive....and that's the short list.
With my background, I've had people flocking to me, trying to understand "how to homeschool". Some even are saying things like, "I know how hard homeschooling is now!" and "My god, teachers are saints."
Teachers ARE saints. Let's be clear on that. They're the most under-recognized, under-paid individuals in our society (besides moms ;-) ), IMO.
But I don't think you know how hard homeschooling is - and that's because you're NOT homeschooling.
Before you get your knickers in a twist, let me explain myself: Homeschooling is a choice. It's a philosophy. It takes days, weeks, months, years, to adapt to, and it is a wholistic lifestyle.
What we have going on right now, for many, is SURVIVAL SCHOOLING.
More than likely, you didn't choose, plan for, or hope for this type of schooling.
You may never have even considered how educating a child at home would work.
You might not have the foggiest idea how to set up a learning schedule.
You may not know how to explain complicated concepts to your children - and you may not even KNOW the concepts yourself.
Add to that the other elements, like patience, sanity, sleeplessness, worry, isolation, and being burdened with ALL the childcare, and you have yourself the perfect storm.
Some people have resorted to survival, without the schooling - read books, watch TV, play games (video and otherwise) so that they can work (and/or because they don't even know where to start).
Some people got 60 minutes notice that their private school was going online, and to have their kids "ready to go" (complete with a parent present) on a brand new learning platform (and in one instance, both parents are doctors on the front line, and their three kids were being watched by a nanny - so what were THEY supposed to do?).
Some people were sent a list of resources/worksheets, and told to have their children "get these done", while all the while trying to work in their low wage positions as grocery clerks (so the rest of us could eat) so they could pay the rent.
And, of course, a million other variations.
So parents: PLEASE do not feel like you "have to" be (suddenly) a 'homeschooler' (by choice or necessity). I, as a homeschooling parent of 10+ years, with an education background, AM NOT JUDGING YOU.
Please don't judge yourself.
I (and many like me) are willing and able to reach out to you and help you navigate these waters. We can help you survive, BECAUSE WE'VE BEEN IN YOUR SHOES. Yes, we might have chosen to homeschool, but we know HOW HARD it is to keep it all going, day in and day out. We have strategies, humour, resources, and good ol' fashioned plain talking to help you through.
If you're struggling, reach out to us: find your homeschooling network, contact me, find a neighbour or friend who's doing this, and TALK to them. Stay clear of those that will judge you, or tell you "how it should be done". You are having your own experience, and you need people to help lift you up through this time - we are out here. Come find us.
I went to ground for a few days. The world is an overwhelming place right now.
I read the news sparingly; I stayed off social media.
I found inappropriate memes and sent them to those I care about, just to make them laugh.
And now I'm listening to one of my absolutely favourite songs (I'm a rock 'n' roll chic from the way back), Halestorm's "Here's to Us." Even if it's not your jam, even if you've never heard it, these lyrics seem apropos (WARNING: Colourful language ahead):
Here's to us
Here's to love
All the times that we f'd up
Here's to you
Fill the glass
'Cause the last few days have kicked my ass
So let's give 'em hell
Wish everybody well
Here's to us
Here's to us
Stuck it out this far together
Put our dreams through the shredder
Let's toast 'cause things got better
And everything could change like that
And all these years go by so fast
But nothing lasts forever
NOTHING. LASTS. FOREVER. I keep listening over and over, because I need to feel that power, not to mention the guitar (Slash, baby!) and the cursing doesn't hurt, either.
I am taking these lyrics incredibly seriously. We've messed up. The last few days HAVE kicked my ass. I do wish everybody well. And everything DID change like that.
And now we're in a holding pattern. Waiting. Wondering. Watching. Worrying. And - dare I say it? - Whining. And frankly many who have no right to whine are doing so the most loudly. Guys, these are STILL First World Problems.
Think about it: do you have water? Electricity? Internet? Basic Health Care? An adequate food supply? A government that's more-or-less effective? Human rights? Education (even if you have to deliver it yourself right now)? Police, fire, emergency services? Freedom to express yourself (even when you're being a twit)? The right to vote? The right to stand up and MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
I fully get that we're panicked - many of us don't know if we'll be able to make the rent, put food on the table, have a job, have heat, etc. But many of us are also worried that our private school tuition isn't being used effectively during this isolation, or that our vacation plans to somewhere exotic are postponed.
As always, the range of human experience defies logic - and sometimes even imagination. So, while you're "having a moment" (like I was), ask yourself - what do I STILL have/have access to that BILLIONS of people might not? And remember, our best chance lies in sticking it out together.
Here's to us.
Put your RIGHT hand up if you want to strangle your children after this week; Put your LEFT hand up it you want to strangle yourself this week.
Scoring: No hands up = You are a saint, you are delusional, and/or you are exceedingly chill.
One hand up = You are normal.
Both hands up = You are REALLY normal.
Maybe this looks like your week:
Day One of 'Schooling at Home, Courtesy of the Coronavirus' - kids excited about school on Zoom, you've got a schedule built, you set up 'school', you do worksheets and/or crafts, and generally think it a success (albeit stressful).
Day Two - kids a little less excited, schedule being enforced, but motivation slipping (both for you and the kids), you're getting tired, you push through; you want to drink by 3 pm.
Day Three - kids starting to resist; gems like "you're not my teacher" and "that's not how my teacher does it" and "I don't want to do this"; you want to drink at 9 am.
Day Four - kids truly pushing back, dragging feet, not completing, not focusing (whether online or not); lots of excuses, whining, and lack of motivation (that's just you: the kids are even worse); you want to drink by 7 am.
Day Five - kids have mutinied; you've decided that a four-day school week is a reasonable compromise. You have never wanted a weekend so badly. Drinking START times....? More like when are you ENDING?
I am, of course, being flippant about the drinking - kind of. But I'm using it as a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of the stress level associated with this new experience.
The vast majority of people who are homeschooling have done so by choice - sometimes there's a necessity element (when things are really bad, and they have to pull their children out suddenly) - but mostly it's choice based on a personal belief system and lifestyle choice.
You probably aren't in that group.
You have had your lifestyle up-ended, and here you sit, trying to sort this all out, and now your kids aren't playing nice.
At this point you have several options:
1) Give up;
2) Force everyone to continue your mandated 'school at home' schedule, modelled on brick-and-mortar school experiences,
come hell or high water;
3) Pause to catch your breath - which is not the same as giving up, then start again;
4) Wait to see how long this lasts, and if it goes beyond 2 weeks, start to think about schooling at home;
5) Adapt by reconfiguring your schedule, subjects, tasks, outcomes, and teaching style;
6) Hire someone to teach your kids online;
7) Pray for this to be over quickly;
8) Start a gratitude fund for every school teacher you've ever known; and/or
9) Become an educator-by-professional (post-Coronavirus, post-more education), because you kick ass at this schooling
Whatever your reality, you are in uncharted waters, in a boat you might not know how to steer (see my Lifejackets post for more perspective on this).
I chose the blog title as "Resistance is Futile", and many of you will know that this pays homage to the Borg Collective in Start Trek: The Next Generation". It's the catch-phrase for the idea that the Borg, once they've made contact with a new civilization, will assimilate them - therefore, resistance is futile.
For me, that phrase resonates a little differently: I'm not suggesting that resistance to homeschooling is futile ('cause it's going to happen) or that resistance to your children is futile (it might be - only you know ;-) or that your children's resistance to YOU is futile (my money's on the kids). What I AM suggesting is the resistance to this situation is futile. You can't wish it away, avoid it, transplant traditional school into the home setting (PLENTY has been written on THAT).
How each of us handles these realities in the coming days will determine whether we keep our balance and - to some degree - autonomy, or whether we collapse and allow ourselves to succumb to the various pressures around us - up to and including deluding ourselves into the idea "going out for frisbee with neighbours is OK". I think you get the idea.
Resources, supports, and so on, can be found on this site, as it develops.
Be safe, be well. Until soon, xo d
My day currently looks like this: my dryer's element isn't working, so it's taking 4 hours to dry a load. AFTER I put all the sheets and towels in the wash.
My sons (11 and 14) are on the Lazy Boys in the basement, working on their math and drinking Aeropress coffee.
I am laying on the couch, binge-watching 21 years of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. And drinking very strong tea. Black. (Wishing I could say, "Earl Grey. Hot." right now, but I'd be lying...).
Clearly, I'm blogging, too, but that will be a limited-time affair today, I think.
Later today I have to coach online, and teach online. Until and unless the internet crashes. Wouldn't that just be perfect?
I fully expect this season to pass this way - periods of productivity mixed with cycles of 'down'. As a person who has struggled with mental health (in particular Seasonal Affective Disorder) for 30 years, I am well aware of the tightrope I'm currently walking.
I'm "doing everything right" as far as taking care of myself, but the incessant news cycle and the unceasing talk about Coronavirus, COVID-19, the economy and the future is wearing me thin....thinner than I would like to be, and thinner than I probably ought to be to weather this storm.
Throughout the years of homeschooling, etc., etc., one thing I've learned is that the concept of a "Mental Health Day" is foundational. Somedays you just can't. You. Just. Can't.
I just re-read that last bit, and I realized there are two readings: one, meaning "you just can't deal with life, so you take a Mental Health Day" and the other, "you need a Mental Health Day, and you just can't".
Whatever group you're in, know that you've never been less alone in your feelings that at any other point in your life - you have a whole planet that has some sense of what you're feeling.
Of course, that doesn't make it easier, and it doesn't necessarily make you feel less alone. I know that I took a long time in admitting to people around me - my husband and children included - that I was struggling. And we're talking YEARS.
Why? Well, I certainly grew up with the stigma of mental health being "all in your head". I even took that to heart, meaning I could think my way out of it. Until the day I realized that it is - indeed - "all in my head" - AND THAT THAT IS THE PROBLEM. The chemicals in my body weren't working nicely together (forget the science: go with me on this one), so the problem really was in my head. That epiphany both made me howl with laughter AND get my head back on straight.
But there are still days like today. Days where just showering takes everything I've got, and that's before I have to do anything else - like work so I can pay bills, or feed my children, or monitor their schoolwork. Don't even TALK about cleaning my house, please.
Some days my bar is far higher than others: but I give myself the grace to move the bar. I set it: I move it. And that kind of empowerment is incredibly important for mental health, generally, and in the current situation we all now find ourselves.
Maybe that's what we need right, in addition to courage (which I talked about in a previous post): grace. With ourselves, our children, our partners, friends, family, colleagues, communities - in short, everyone. The more we judge, the less grace is available to all.
Season 11 is calling: I must answer.
Until soon! xo d
(ps - Check the 'NEWS' tab in the coming days - I'll let you know in a blog - I will be putting together a 'living list' of resources for families, so you don't have to spend your valuable Netflix or home-workout time vetting stuff yourself ;-) ).
I get it. Oh boy, do I ever: while I've homeschooled my two sons their entire lives (and they've both got special needs), I've also worked for a University, completed a PhD, became a Certified Professional Coach, and started two companies - one specific to working with youth in Spoken Arts, and an international coaching practice.
So please don't think, ever, "she's got it easy: she's just at home with her kids, teaching them, and she doesn't know what the real world is like." And also don't ever think I judge choices anyone else makes: I assume we're all doing the best we can, with what we know and what we have, at all times. I make my choices: you make yours.
What I DO know is how hard it has been to do everything I've done, while homeschooling, and I've had the benefit of 27 years as an educator and coach, teaching professionally from K - Uni, planning for homeschooling from my first sons' birth, and 10+ years of actual, boots-on-the-ground practice.
You've had, what, 5 days? And likely not much teaching experience or education.
If you feel like you're having a panic attack, rest assured - you're not alone. I've been contacted by innumerable people in my community in the past week who know my background, and who are trying to get a grip on the situation. They all want what's best for their kids, and they simply don't know where to start.
Some are faced with having a parent stay home for childcare; some have both parents trying to work from home; some have a nanny in place (but a school that requires a parent be present for online classes); others have neighbours, grandparents, relatives and friends stepping up to help out. Most probably don't have a lot of experience with online education (and if they do, consider yourself very VERY lucky).
Many of you are playing a numbers game: how long will this last? Maybe you're working with 2-, 3-, 6-week time frames. Maybe months. Maybe it's entirely unknown. How do you even begin to plan for that??
Some schools (many private) have switched over to online classrooms OVER THE WEEKEND. Take a minute with that thought: in 48-or-so hours teachers have had to build classrooms and content, learn an online platform, and be prepared to delivery their courses online. If that doesn't speak to dedication, I'm not sure what would.
But it's new for you, too. And your children. And the other caregivers in your child's life.
If this carries on for more than a few weeks, a few things might occur: first and foremost, it's very possible that the online learning platforms will collapse, because of the strain on the infrastructure. No doubt they're working around the clock to build out the system, but it takes time - and it seems like everyone is jumping in the boat at the same time. In that situation, the boat sinks. My hope is that the boat doesn't sink before a new, bigger boat comes along. If it DOES, then we need to talk in terms of lifejackets (until the big boat arrives).
This is where any experience you have, watching your kids in an online learning environment, even in this sort term becomes the NUMBER ONE FEATURE in the lifejacket.
That will leave everyone in a position where they have the information to create learning opportunities tuned in especially for the learners they're caring for and working with. No teacher experience or education needed: just OBSERVATION WITHOUT JUDGEMENT.
If you find yourself in the Brave New World of online schooling (for the short- or the long-term), you have unique opportunity to:
1) Witness how your child learns
2) Discover how your child PREFERS to learn
3) Examine your child's work habits: are they organized? how are their note-taking skills? do they interact effectively with
peers? are they accountable for their contributions, homework, projects, etc?
4) Listen to their communication skills: are they articulate? are they having trouble collecting their thoughts? do they
offer to participate, or hang back?
5) Observe their ability to FOCUS: can they follow the class? do they 'tune out'? are they easily distracted?
6) Gauge when their really engaged: when do they perk up? is there a time of day? a topic? a teacher? a task?
7) Support their in-class experiences - AFTER class, of course - with reflections, conversations, sharing of insight and
additional pieces of information, stories and other related matter.
When you look at it this way, perhaps you will begin to see how enormous the potential is here. You will know more about your child as a LEARNER and an INDIVIDUAL than you've ever known before. How valuable is THAT?
Like I said: this has to occur without judgement. EVERY child is different, and every person learns differently. This process will give you the chance to support learning going forward (even if that means in a technology-free mode for a while) with knowledge about:
THIS is how you design your learning lifejacket. If you are faced with making choices about education, going forward, this information is a huge asset. It will allows you to choose classes, teachers, activities, learning materials, learning environments, and so on, with more confidence than you've ever had in the past. You'll be able to swim, and teach your child the same thing.
I can't emphasize enough, though, that you HAVE TO KEEP YOUR OWN THOUGHTS, IDEAS AND PREFERENCES out of the mix. Your learner is not you, or their siblings, or the other children they go to school with. The world has changed (boy, has it!) and it's 2020. It doesn't do a lick of good to say, "back in my day". It also serves no one to try and fit one culture's learning expectations into another's. There is a saying, "When in Rome..." You can adapt and stay true to yourself, all at the same time. Trust me.
In future blogs, I will talk about working effectively with your learners/children, structuring school days, working with curricular choices, and teaching and learning philosophies...and likely much more. Stay tuned!! xo ~d~
First thing to get really clear on: for students who've suddenly been dropped into online learning platforms (some for as long as 6 ½ hours a day, at 6 years old), it is incredibly difficult.
I know that many think, "hah! sitting in front of a screen for 6 ½ hours...must be a kid's idea of PERFECTION."
And many kids may think that at first, too. But nope. As soon as the novelty wears off (and it will, very VERY quickly), reality sinks in, and with it the realization: sitting on your ass for that long, staring at a screen, trying to absorb, follow, manage an entirely new learning environment, interact with peers and teacher, remember what you're required to do afterwards, and ultimately LEARN is not easy.
Many, many children are going to suffer. A few might really enjoy the experience, long term, and many will enjoy elements of the experience overall - and take note, because this information tells you important things about how your child likes to learn. But a never-ending cycle of screen time is incredibly depleting. And these are children we're talking about.
What are the majority going to request "after school"? SCREEN TIME. And you know what? You're probably going to let them. You'll have lots of reasons, too:
1) You feel sorry for them - poor things have had their lives turned upside-down
2) It's how they "take a break" (you might want to think about that one a bit more carefully)
3) It's the easiest thing to do, because you need a break (fair)
4) It's the easiest thing to do, because you're still trying to work (also fair)
5) You don't know what else to do with them - your lives are so filled with tutors, courses, classes, etc., that you never HAVE free time - so you haven't the foggiest idea what to do with them
6) THEY don't know what else to do with themselves - and harass you into submission
7) They've convinced you that this is best path to becoming an "X-Games Athlete" and make big bucks - and you've bought it
These are your children, and your choices. But before you default to "path of least resistance" (and frankly, parenting is about the LEAST 'path of least resistance'-y thing you could have EVER signed up for), remember: this time is a GIFT. It probably doesn't feel like that. It probably feels draining, harrowing, grinding, overwhelming, and exhausting. You have so much to think about right now (even though you might be isolated) that you can't seem to get out of your own head (see some of my previous blogs for a few thoughts on that).
If you are willing to explore other ways to approach this unique situation (and you can find the time, energy and wherewithal), here's a short list of ideas for your children (and possible yourself):
1) Have a conversation - this might be new territory for you and your kids, so tread lightly!
2) Talk about the classes they took
3) Do these things while taking a walk (but steer clear of others - just wave and smile from at least 6 feet away ;-) )
4) Try a new online fitness programme - yoga tends to be popular, and it doesn't matter in the slightest if you don't know
what you're doing and/or you suck at it
5) Read quietly NEAR each other
6) Read quietly ALONE (downtime, but only for a while)
7) Read a book together
8) Build a puzzle
9) Do a craft or a STEM project (lots of ideas online!)
10) Play a board game
11) Watch ugly cat or startled goat videos on YouTube - (a personal favourite) - this is screen time, sure, but it's hilarious and SHARED
14) Call someone (grandparent, friend, etc.) and check on them
15) Play music
18) Plant seeds
19) Teach your kids how to cook dinner
20) Teach your kids how to do chores
The list could be endless, but you get the point - this is time to do all the things you "wish you had time" to do at other times. And most are free or cheap, so if finances are a stressor, then that helps, too.
The idea, ultimately, is help your kids connect back into reality and humanity - online courses create distance (while the same time bridging it, which is deeply strange), and you can help this process by being intentional with how time is spent outside of the online class realm.
Oh, and by the way...you'll be giving yourself an incredible gift, too.
So here you are, in the Brave New World of managing your child's education from home. It's the Wild West, believe me.
Your child's school might be offering online classes to bridge the gap, or you might have enrolled your kids in an online platform, like Outschool or Polyhistoria, because you know it's going to be a long haul, and you would like them to do more than MineCraft, Fortnite, TikTok, SnapChat, YouTube, or Call of Duty.
Just slap a computer in front of them, right? And walk away. Boom. Done.
If you're lucky, maybe....but realistically, there's a great deal YOU can do to set them up (figuratively AND literally) for success.
1. Know the time and date of the class. I am not even kidding on this one. If you have a family calendar (we use iCal), put it in there, and PRINT THAT SHIT OFF. I promise you: best use of ink ever.
2. Know the website AND the login credentials needed. This could include a url, a password, an email, a username, or any other element provided to you when you registered. Don't "hope" you'll remember: you won't. Write it down.
3. Figure out what materials your child needs BEFORE the class. Most online educators will have a 'Classroom' where they post relevant information for learners. There could be pre-reading, class introductions, worksheets, videos, materials you need to order from Amazon, etc., learning materials (for instance, for my son's class today, I needed to buy a Voltmeter), and - of course - pens, pencils, sharpeners, erasers, highlighters, rulers, paper AND A PLACE AND SYSTEM TO STORE THIS STUFF.
4. Load/Figure out the class software BEFORE the class. Sometimes you need to download a specific packet of software, sometimes you need to figure out how the video and audio works, sometimes you need to check your internet connection/speed. Whatever it is, sort it out BEFOREHAND. It's incredibly stressful for your child to be sitting there, watching as the class starts, and they don't know what to do or how to make it work. (it's stressful for you, too, by the way)
5. Have a dedicated learning space. This should be a place where they can sit, have their materials and devices around them, and have the screen so they're not looking down at the computer/screen. Trust me when I tell you that it's brutal to watch an online class this way. After a while your head and eyes hurt so much, you can no longer learn. Also, make sure the lighting is adequate, there is little extra noise, and that their seat is comfortable. A kitchen table is just fine, provided you elevate materials accordingly. I know one student in Manhattan that uses a pantry. Whatever works.
6. Feed them regularly, and make sure there is a beverage - water, ideally - at their learning station. The brain needs this to learn. Even if your child "hates water", you might be surprised at how much they'll sip just sitting there.
7. Have bathroom breaks BEFORE class starts.
8. Teach your child how to stop/start the screen AND how to mute the volume. Nobody needs to hear you yelling for the dog or freaking on your other child because they didn't do their homework.
9. Remind your children that SPAMMING THE CHAT IS NOT OK. If you don't know what this is, let me enlighten you: most online classes have a chat feature where instructors let students contribute and ask questions. However, a number of children haven't seemed to figure out that writing lines of text like, "WEEEEeeeeeeEEEEE" and "wkla;sdh[osibahpfbaspfboi" is not especially helpful (and hugely distracting). Be present. Watch for the behaviour. If your child can't control themselves, have the instructor turn your child's chat function off from their end. It's a learning session, not a behavioural free-for-all.
10. Remove all extra devices from the learning area. This means no phones for texting, iPods for music, iPads for YouTube, etc. Seems obvious, I know, but it's a real thing, and it means your child is neither learning, nor respecting the learning situation and educator. You probably won't be popular. Oh well.
11. Know what the instructor wants your child to do between classes and WRITE IT DOWN. Know the due date. Know the details of the assignment, reading, etc., and don't believe your children when they say, "Oh, there's no assignment" or "it's already done." CHECK. It may make you unpopular, but again - oh well. You're not a parent to win a popularity contest: you're a parent to love a child and make sure they don't grow up to be punks.
12. Don't walk away and assume your child is learning. Check in. Be there. Walk by and touch their hair. Ask what they learned and if they had a good time. Online learning isn't the same as classroom learning, and it can be very lonely. Don't forget that.
Until next time!
Your life has probably blown up, especially if you have school-aged kids. Some of your fears might include:
1) they are going to drive you nuts
2) their brains are going to rot
3) they're going to 'fall behind'
4) they'll forget how to read and/or work with numbers
5) they'll only eat junk food
6) they'll harass you until you give in and give them screens (for gaming/YouTube, not learning) just for a moment's peace
7) you're going to kill them
8) they're going to kill you
All-in-all, this makes you normal.
Before you resort to drinking, might I suggest a few ideas and thoughts to bridge yourself into this 'New World'?
First, take a breath. For real. My favourite app is Mindfulness, and my husband's is Calm. (These aren't affiliate links - just information to find things more easily). Listen to music, light a candle, read a prayer book, whatever your jam is - just take a breath.
Second, remember: Their brains aren't going to rot in 2 weeks - 5 ½ months. They will be just fine. Everybody else is in the same boat, and while they might not be learning in the same way as at school, rest assured that they are still learning. And you have significant influence over what and how - far more so than when they're in school, frankly.
Third, don't try to reproduce the classroom at home. It's a doomed enterprise. Take it from someone who's homeschooled for 10+ years - you need to find your 'style', and trying to sit your kids for 6+ hours at a table to do worksheets, etc., will blow up in your face.
Fourth, take a break. Don't feel like you have to immediately go into 'school mode'. Take some time to breathe (see above!) as a family. Remember, this is a HUGE thing happening to your children - this will change them forever, and it's going to define how they see the world moving forward. You're the adult: don't forget that.
Fifth, find the fun. What have you been 'meaning to do' with your kids? Read a book together? Puzzle? Play games? Bake? Play toys? Watch a movie? Tell them stories about their family? Hug and cuddle. NOW IS THE TIME. This is a gift - don't squander it with panic.
Check out the next blog on How to Set Your Kids Up for Online Class Success!
If you, like millions - if not billions - of people worldwide, are a parent of school-aged children, chances are the Coronavirus has just royally messed up your life.
If you work away from home, you are probably trying to figure out how work AT HOME with children underfoot. If you still have to work outside the home, chances are you're trying to figure out WHO will watch your children, because there are no schools or daycares or even community gathering places (those sites you rely on the rest of the time).
Add fear, financial insecurity, health concerns and....home education.
You didn't sign up for this.
There're reasons you send your kids to school, and those might include:
1) you don't want to teach your children (no shame there)
2) you don't feel you have the skill or knowledge to teach your children
3) you can't get your children to listen to you at the best of times
4) you need to earn an income
5) you want to earn an income
6) your mental health depends on the separation between the 'adult world' and the 'kid world'
7) you like your job
8) your kids need a break from you
9) YOU need a break from you!
10) you feel children need to learn in a group setting
11) your children have learning challenges that you feel need to be dealt with by professionals
12) you want them to have accountability to someone other than yourself
13) you want them to have a 'good education' that allows them to succeed later in life
And many more reasons, all legitimate.
But here we are.
For some of us, we're holding on to the idea that this is a 2-week forced staycation with no opportunities for camps or fieldtrips (but your house could end up very clean and organized ;-) ).
For others, we're staring down the barrel of up to 5 ½ months of 'break'. For two (the summer months) we might have the opportunity, if we have the finances, to take advantage of summer programming. For many, this may just not be viable.
Sure, schools, boards and administrations have said our kids will 'pass' and get 'final grades'. That's lovely.
But WHAT DO WE DO WITH THEM? (the kids, not the grades)
Parents are freaking out. And it's understandable. Like I said, you didn't sign up for this, and you've had next to no time to prepare. You've literally been set adrift in an ocean you've never even seen before yesterday. In the coming blogs, I'm going to do what I can to help - I have a unique skill set, and my contribution to all of this is to give freely of it.
More to come.
Well, might as well start strong, and quote Shakespeare, right? This incredibly famous line from Henry V, Act 3, sc i, basically means "have courage".
And that's pretty much where we all stand today, March 17th, 2020. We need to have courage.
And be kind. And have patience. And look out for each other.
Whatever your personal perspective on Coronavirus and COVID-19 may be, one thing that is incontrovertible is that we're all in this together. That's not just lip service on my part. Look around: people are fighting for their lives, their livelihoods, their peace of mind, their future. If there ever was a time to get our shit together as a species, it's looking like now might be a good choice. Of course, there have been other times, but we've always been able talk ourselves out of it. We can't continue like that now.
So, before I launch into what I can contribute to the "we're in this together" mode of existence (in subsequent blogs, and the News page), I want to shout out to people who aren't being lauded. Much love and respect to the health professionals (many of my friends are doctors) and volunteers who are working selflessly and endlessly to either combat the war already raging around them, or the war they see approaching their doorstep.
But take a step back and consider all the other people who are keeping things going: leaders (whatever your political inclination or opinion) are making incredibly tough decisions without all the ideal information, and doing whatever they believe is best to help and protect those they lead.
The community leaders who are organizing outreach to isolated and vulnerable populations.
The stores having 'elderly hours' to protect those people.
The people keeping water, sewers, electricity, gas, garbage, compost, recycling and internet/telephone services running.
The clerks still helping customers at grocery stores (and stocking shelves and driving supply trucks), pharmacies, banks; the postal workers still delivering your mail (and your Amazon orders); the delivery person for DoorDash; the teachers learning new delivery systems in 48 hours so that they can try and connect with students; the police, fire and EMS; the people scraping roads and highways when it snows; the plumbers, the electricians, the gas technicians. And innumerable others I'm neglecting to mention (for which I apologize).
My point is simple and - hopefully - obvious: despite what is occurring, there is courage everywhere, and we're incredibly lucky.
Are we perfect? Of course not. Will we look back and see mistakes? Of course we will. But we're trying, and that's what King Henry is saying.
Hello! My name is Donna, and I'm a home-educator (10+years) of two gifted boys (now grades 9/10 and 6/7). My PhD is in Education (Curriculum, Teaching and Learning), and I'm a Certified Professional Coach (CPC). I own two companies - Raconteur Spoken Arts Studio and The Eloquence Equation (website being revamped as we speak!). Check out my 'About' page for more dirt! ~cheers~ donna
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