Monday, March 23, 2020

Homeschooling in a time of crisis

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Well. We're in a global pandemic. All over social media are posts encouraging you to make the most of this time your children are off of school. There are many tips on how best to continue schooling while you're isolated at home as well as memes to let off steam about how much teachers should earn, how cooped up everyone's feeling, and how no one's taught to carry the one anymore. (Is this true? I'm too old to have realized this.)

As a parent who's been homeschooling for my children's full schooling years so far, I want to offer my take on how best to homeschool right now for those of you thrown into schooling at home. Don't worry, I'll be gentle. Seriously. Because:

  1. This is not homeschooling. If your kids are usually in school full time, what you're doing right now is not any form of regular homeschooling, which is intentional and planned and much less panicky on the whole. What you're doing is crisis schooling. It's stress schooling. It's not vacation, and it's not not vacation. It's weird, and you're distracted and anxious, and your kids might be, too. This isn't normal even for homeschooling families because all our classes, co-ops, excursions, and social interactions are canceled. All children are missing their friends and routines and stimulation, whether they're already used to homeschooling or not. You're missing yours. Maybe you're still working full time in an essential (read: stressful) job. Maybe you're trying to figure out working from home. Maybe you're out of work and worrying about how to pay the next bills to come due. Maybe you or loved ones are sick or recovering. Maybe you or your kids have disabilities or other special needs that make it hard to miss out on the services that make your days more manageable.

    I feel you. But only figuratively and from a socially mandated distance.

    Whatever you do right now with school, it's fine. It's really, really fine. You don't even have to Make Every Moment Special™, which is its own form of unnecessary pressure. Kids can be bored. Kids can use screens. Kids can play the day away. Kids can fall behind in schoolwork. If your school has gone virtual and is laying on the pressure, you have the right to ask for dispensation and excused absences right now. Because: