Don’t Rush to Turn Quarantine Time to School Time

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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.

Game Time: Lessons in Conflict Management and Resolution

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. 

What does your new daily routine look like?

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katrina Siron
Katrina is a mom of three great kids and has been married to her first love for nearly 10 years. She’s grateful to have a job that allows her the flexibility to both work from home some days and in the office others. On the surface, Katrina is pretty crunchy – she loves breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, natural birth, and homeschooling — but still loves her stroller, having her kids in their own beds at some point, her epidural was fantastic, and she’ll be sending the kids through public school. Most of all she loves the fact that we have all these choices, which makes life interesting! One of her favorite experiences was moving to Japan in 2002 to live as an adult dependent with their USMC family. It was an amazing experience, and if it weren’t for that, she probably wouldn’t ever have met my husband.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This is a great read. Too many parents are putting intense pressure on themselves to become teachers overnight. It’s not normal. We need to give ourselves a break and not stress out our kids.

  2. I think this article is awesome! It’s been very challenging to do the work/teacher/mom/home maker during this Social Distancing. I also have a job that allows me to work home a couple of days and in the office the other days. But trying to fit ALL the school work they have piled on these kids is a lot. Granted I know they need to continue to learn, but with a fulltime job, where do you find the time to do a whole day of school work into an evening after a 8.5hr job? Honestly I feel bad having to come home and start on school work, I feel what little time we have together in the evening should be spent doing something fun like watching a movie or playing Pictionary Air. I admire the women that can come home after a long day and have patience to do school work along with providing a decent meal and still feel like they have spent quality time with their family. Any suggestions on how to manage it all, would so greatly be appreciated.

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