Well, friends, it’s been quite a month. I’d summarize the details but if you’ve watched the news or tried to buy toilet paper recently, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The world feels a little scary right now (Costco in particular) and we’re all learning to adjust our plans and lives as needed. Whether you’re coping through meditation, a giant bottle of wine or simply putting your head under a blanket while sobbing, let’s remember one thing: we’re all in this together, and it’s going to be ok.
I want to make it clear that while I’ve been using humour to get through my own stress, I take the COVID-19 situation very seriously. I’m grateful that preventative measures are being taken, no matter how much inconvenience they cause, because I want our entire community to be healthy. Not just me, not just my kids, but everyone – and that includes vulnerable populations who might not recover if exposed to this virus. I’m concerned about the elderly, those undergoing chemotherapy and individuals with ongoing health problems or autoimmune disorders. I want our children to be safe and healthy, as all children deserve to be. There are definitely some people in your life that feel vulnerable right now, so consider giving them a call. Even if they’re physically well, this is a stressful time for many people. We thrive when we support one another, so let’s do what moms do best and nurture those who need us.
But back to it: this school thing is pretty tough.
We may have seen the extended closure coming but still, it all feels a little surreal and upside down. Our children are going to be home from school for who knows how long, and shit is about to get real. Like, super real, in a way I’m not mentally or emotionally prepared for. I was barely prepared for March, to be honest, and now here we go.
My kids need structure and I want them to keep learning during their time at home. However, while I am a good mom and a reasonably smart person, I am not a teacher – and quite honestly, I do not have the saintly patience it requires to be one. I would last five minutes in a classroom full of small children. I can barely tolerate children’s birthday parties. And yet, I’ve decided to homeschool my kids for a few hours each day during the shutdown, because education is important and that’s the best I can do.
And so, I humbly offer you this:
A guide to homeschooling your children during a pandemic when you have no idea what you’re doing.
Are you ready to join me? Well, godspeed and good luck.
We will begin by reviewing the science I know, which is mostly the names of body parts and animals. Soon, I will be reminded that my kids know more about animals than I do (including the prehistoric ones) and I am adding nothing of value to the conversation. On day two, I will attempt to make a single baking soda and vinegar volcano before remembering how terrible this experiment smells, and also realizing I don’t know how to explain why these components react the way they do. Science! It’s fun, and sort of complicated! Eventually, I will just put on some Bill Nye videos from YouTube. We’ll finish the day with an episode Wild Kratts. Lesson done.
First of all, my kids will be learning old math from me because no parents understand the new math (sorry, kids, you’re getting a ‘90s-style education now). When my mathematical knowledge taps out (which will happen more quickly than I’d like to admit), I’ll turn to my 9-year-old daughter, who gets straight As in math and can probably teach my 7-year-old son whatever he needs to know. Who will teach my daughter, you ask? Her DreamBox account, that’s who.
The assignment is this: please go read books quietly in your room so Mama can work. School may be shut down for three weeks, but your parents still have jobs and bills to pay (we are very fortunate that we can work from home). Assignment #2 is to write a story about your life experience in the year 2020 (a thriller, obviously). Maybe we’ll do a spelling test later, which will be fun because I’m actually good at spelling and love the satisfaction a red pen brings.
Please go outside. Play on the backyard climber until you’re bored and then run until you’re tired. That’s gym. You’re welcome.
Can your kids get along while cooped up in the house for an entire day? How about an entire week? Ok, but how about three weeks? Yeah, mine neither. Here’s how social studies works during the school closure: if your kids make it to April 5th without killing one another, everyone passes (parents included). Godspeed us all.
If there’s one thing I can offer during a pandemic, it’s an abundance of art supplies. My house will be destroyed in ten minutes but creativity is good, I guess? I’ll just look away. It’s fine. Everything is fine. Art is art, anything is anything, right? We all get an A.
I’m willing to share these lesson plans because I care, and I hope you’ll put them to good use with your own unexpected child-pupils. Now do your best to stay healthy, stay sane and we can all reconnect in a month or so.
Happy homeschooling, everyone.