You Are NOT Homeschooling

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These thoughts have been marinating for about a week now but I’m just not sure how to translate them into written words. But they are important so I’m going to try my best.

Sweet friend, you are NOT homeschooling. What we public and private school parents (and teachers) have been thrust into is a bastardized version of distance learning. Homeschooling involves a choice made by families after discussion and careful consideration. They research curricula and design a learning plan that meets the needs of their children. The homeschool parent is generally not working a separate full time job if the children are young.

We were given minimal notice that we would be moving our children from their routines, teachers, and friends to have them suddenly need to be schooled at home. We didn’t choose this for our families. Curricula are mandated by the state and not designed with distance learning in mind. Districts are relying on technology that was not designed to be used for e-learning. It can’t handle the volume of users nor is it the appropriate software to effectively instruct students. Teachers have not been trained sufficiently (or at all) on how to deliver lessons remotely. Parents who are still expected to work their full time jobs must now also teach their children, social distance and follow state and CDC guidelines and maintain a household. It’s more than just not ideal; it isn’t sustainable.

Parents who are still expected to work their full time jobs must now also teach their children, social distance and follow state and CDC guidelines and maintain a household.

My point in writing this isn’t to police language or semantics. You can call your family’s e-learning whatever you want including homeschooling. What I want you to know though is that it’s ok that this is HARD. It’s ok to feel like you are struggling. It’s ok to not enjoy this. I have a Master’s Degree in Education and I think this crap is hard. My son has a rock star kindergarten teacher who has done an amazing job with e-learning but I’m afraid my execution has fallen short. Parents, teachers, and children are all doing the very best we can in the middle of a global pandemic to keep education a priority and you should feel proud of this Herculean effort. Some days have been good and some have been downright painful but I have seen growth in my son and watched him learn. I bet if you are honest with yourself your child has learned and met benchmarks, too.

Extend grace to yourself, mama. We are our own worst critics. I know I find myself thinking “people homeschool all the time- why am I struggling so much?” Remember that you are NOT homeschooling. Circumstances are different and you are doing the best that you can under impossible conditions. Read to your children, check in with how they are doing emotionally with all the changes, and make time for fun. I don’t know what the next few months will bring but what I do know is that your little people are going to be ok. I know this because they have you looking out for them and moving mountains to help them grow and learn. Deep breaths- we’ve got this.

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