I’ve really debated writing this post. However, with the current state of things, I feel like it’s my burden to bring some things to light and be very honest about them. See, I’ve watched on multiple social platforms as teachers and parents alike are extremely frustrated with the current distance learning approach. As a former homeschool mom, and current schooling mom, I have some unique perspectives here. You see, this isn’t homeschool BUT….
This isn’t Homeschool BUT…
Please note that I am not out to offend anyone to step on any toes. I know everyone is doing their best in a crazy situation. However, there are some truths that need to be shared on all sides of this conversation.
This isn’t homeschooling
Ok. Yes, you are doing schoolwork at home so technically you are homeschooling. However, you’ve probably heard at least one homeschool mom jump on the defensive and say, “This isn’t homeschooling. This is…”
Here’s why homeschool moms are so quick to say this and there are a few reasons so I will break them down.
- Homeschool Moms are terrified this schooling approach will quantify who they are and what they do. – While homeschooling is getting a better reputation than it used to have, it still has a negative connotation for many people.See, homeschoolers have a lot more freedom with what they teach, getting out to be social, and how much they have to report to someone else about those freedoms. Please give them grace as they defend homeschooling. It’s not an attack on you. It’s a defense of something they value.
- Homeschooling is not being trapped in the house all the time. – In fact, we were more active and out and about when we homeschooled than we are now. We had so many classes, park days, and activities that we were always on the go. My kids had a better social life than you might imagine. Check on your homeschool friends. They’re probably going crazy being forced to stay home.
- Homeschooling is not mandatory attendance, state testing, obligated activities, and more. – In fact, homeschoolers have a lot of freedoms. This will vary by state but many parents have the freedom to customize education to the child’s needs.
*** A Message to homeschoolers – You are not under attack by parents who say they are homeschooling. Please skip criticism. Instead, offer tips and encouragement. Find a way to help your friend adjust to this new version of schooling at home that they have been forced into.
This isn’t a school at home…
I’ve watched multiple schools work on different ways to implement school at home. Some have done a brilliant job (like my daughter’s school) and have left parents feeling informed, students feeling equipped, and everyone better for it. Others have done less than their best… Parents are left feeling overwhelmed and just plain ready to scream. So let’s talk about it.
- Logging in at certain times/days for each class. – Many of my friends are balancing zoom schedules, online lessons, and more for multiple children with strict times. I can assure you that this is an attempt to bring the classroom home and not an attempt to homeschool.
- Logging activities like P.E. and extras – Many parents are telling me that they are doing P.E. logs, dance class, and so much more. They’re working to take pictures and videos of their children, documenting every little move their kids make, and submitting artwork. While I can see this with middle and high school grades, I’m not seeing the need for early elementary. This isn’t a school at home…
- Parents aren’t equipped to teach and some are still working. – Many children are having to adapt to this learning approach without the help of a parent and not all work is meant to be done completely independently. Add to it parents who are working and it’s too much.
*** A Message to Parents – You don’t have to do it all. If you are struggling with something the school has assigned, reach out to the teachers. Communicate your concerns and be honest about what you are struggling with and why. If they can’t cancel it, they may have a way to have you work on it in a different way. Communication is your best friend right now.
Let’s talk about the teachers
So many teachers are getting a really negative rap right now. Surely it’s their fault right? They’re assigning all this insane work, expecting check-ins, and just making life harder on parents. Here’s the thing. They were thrown into this with no preparation as well. A lot of what teachers are giving you has been handed to them by an admin who says what they are required to assign each week. So let’s talk about this a bit more.
- They know your kids but… – So here’s the thing. They know how your kids learn in the classroom but your child isn’t their only student. They are coordinating lessons for a variety of students from a multitude of backgrounds. When planning lessons they have to think of houses with two parents, single parents, grandparents, or a variety of other scenarios. They are working hard to balance all of these needs with the standards assigned.
- They weren’t trained in this version of learning. – This is such an important point to make. While you as a parent are learning, so are the teachers. They are taking a system designed for classroom learning and attempting to adapt it to homes that have no internet, have single parents, or parents who are still essential and working long hours. It’s a crazy task and they’re doing the best they can figure out how to do.
- They will make mistakes and will learn what is best with time. – In the middle of a situation the whole country wasn’t ready for, they are doing their best. They will make mistakes. Anyone would. They are trying their best though and deserve grace and patience.
*** A Message to Teachers – Please know that we know you are working hard. When we complain about the teachers, some part of us knows it’s not your fault. We’re just overwhelmed and doing the best we can. Answer the questions, bring the peace you can bring, and be honest with us if something needs to change. We’ll get through this.
Let’s get real.
It’s not easy. The whole world stopped but the state said education is required and everyone is doing their best to try and make things work. There is no ideal or perfect situation. There will be tears, frustration, and growing pains as we all get through this crazy season. Do what is best for your mental health. You might miss an assignment, forget a zoom, or just drop the ball. Be real with the people you are dealing with and do your best. The rest will fall where it will.
The most important thing for kids to know is that they are loved, that their education matters, and that all of the adults are working together to provide them with some of their normal day to day life.
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