Dear Fellow Working Parents:
Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed? I know I am.
I am seeing blog posts, Facebook and Instagram posts, e-mails from teachers and other educators, all with tons of free learning at home ideas or optional-ish learning opportunities, and I am tempted to shut it all down. It is A LOT.
I have seen so many, many, MANY posts on educational materials for our kids to use while schools are closed. These are wonderful resources and I am so glad they exist. So, please know, I am not here to tell you not utilize them.
What I do want to say, from one harried parent to another, is please don’t rush to impose a school schedule and academic materials on your family.
We are not homeschooling. I don’t mean just “we” as in my family, but if your children are typically in a public, private, or charter school setting, we, the collective we, are not home schooling during this period of social distancing. At best, we are trying to do school at home. At minimum, we are trying to create educational opportunities so that our kids don’t forget the valuable information they have already learned.
I, like so many other working parents, am working from home for the duration of this event, as is my husband. I freely admit, the idea of trying to work educational time into our schedule – which is not all that different working from home versus in the office – has me more than a little concerned. I have three kids in elementary school, and not one of them are very independent learners. They require a good bit of oversight and hand-holding. So, no, we are not doing school at home yet.
I want to encourage you to take this first week of social distancing/quarantine and use it to establish a new normal. Let yourselves get used to a different rhythm and flow of life. Natural wake-ups for the kids, no alarms. Later bedtimes. More screen time. More outside time. More family time.
We have been given the gift of more time together, which is both a blessing and a challenge.
Based on all the news reports coming in from all directions, this initial two week quarantine/social distancing is only the beginning. We are likely looking at many more weeks of this. With that in mind, I know we will need to start learning at home eventually. This is not an extended, early Spring Break.
There is also no rush to jump in and get burned out. Take it easy. Dip your toes in the water. Maybe try to one school-ish thing a day. Or not. My newly minted seven-year old practiced his reading by reading the warning label on a trampoline yesterday. I call that a win!
We will probably do some baking. It’s a great time to work on fractions and talk about the science behind baking. With all of my children home, our main “classwork” is working on conflict management and resolution, which are valuable life skills.
Do you remember the little poem that gets circulated now and again on social media, about babies not keeping? Kids don’t either. Take this time and make the best of it. Add in academic work when it makes sense for your family, not because all of social media is inundating you with resources, activities and ideas.
The kids will be okay. We will make it through this together. I mean, like at least six feet apart, but together in spirit.