Homeschooling is hard. Homeschooling during a crisis is even harder.
How do I know? Friend, I have been living it. I had to step away from blogging quite some time and let me tell you why. In the past year, we have experienced so much loss. My stepfather passed away suddenly — in fact as of this writing, we have had five deaths in the family. My husband fought and beat cancer again and two close friends of the family passed away.
Talk about being on auto-pilot.
Who’s had time to process, grieve, cry or anything else? Not me. It’s been a rough and emotionally exhausting few months. (My shining light — my eldest graduated from high school!) There were days where I was struggling big time. The overwhelm from all of the loss was/is enough to make anyone sit down and try to regroup. I’ve found myself frustrated, overwhelmed and utterly exhausted at times. A crisis will do that to you.
As a homeschooling mom, it’s been difficult because even though my children are very young, I know that they really like school. They also (on most days) like the structure that a schedule can bring. They know what to expect and tend to look forward to doing certain activities on certain days. And that is something that I have desperately missed giving to them. I want my children to have “normalcy.” I want them to be able to understand that things happen (whether good or bad) but to also appreciate routine. And who am I kidding? The recovering perfectionist in me loves routine, order and planning. Schedules make me smile.
Stop putting extra pressure on yourself.
As homeschoolers, we are fortunate to be raising our children in a flexible learning environment. While we do have to ensure accurate attendance, we don’t have to be burdened by the stress and pressure of a public or private school system’s attendance protocol. This is something that I will admit that I have had to get used to.
Break down units. Break down lessons. And then break them down some more.
Depending on your schooling style, you may follow a strict schedule with your curriculum. In times of crisis, this is the time where you REALLY need to give yourself some grace and allow the flexibility of the homeschool model to work for you. While you may want to keep moving forward with your lessons, remember that it is perfectly fine to not do all of the lesson.
In times of crisis, focus on what you need to do rather that what you may want to do. The work will be there when it is a better time for you to pick it back up. And you know, some days that may involve just being present with your family. These are the times when you will be focusing more on teaching life and coping skills than math facts and that is okay.
Embrace the flexibility of homeschooling and the community around you.
One thing that moms have to understand is that we have got to let go of the idea that we HAVE TO BE EVERYTHING to everyone ALL. THE. TIME. I get it – this is hard. We are used to wearing our capes and making everything happen no matter what. It’s just what we do. But during the most stressful times, that type of attitude doesn’t help anyone. It will keep us mamas running on that endless treadmill and feeling exhausted.
It will leave our children confused and trying to make sense of what’s happening. We are irritable. The kids are frustrated. It’s not worth it. It’s ok to let another mom take the kids to co-op for a few days. Let another mom or two or three make dinner for you.
Moms have to let go of the idea that we HAVE TO BE EVERYTHING to everyone ALL. THE. TIME.
There is no guilt in you needing to step back for a few days or weeks and saying to those around you that you need some help. For many, this is hard in itself. Please allow me to say this. If you find yourself in a season where you are struggling to do it all and the people around you know it, please let them help you. Allowing others to help does not mean that you are weak. It allows other families to step in and allow embrace what it means to be part of community. A community is strengthened during times of crisis. And community is what sets homeschooling apart. It truly is like no other.
Written by Angel Penn of AngelPenn.com