I screamed at my kids today over homework. Yes, even though they are being homeschooled for obvious reasons, they still give them homework? Isn’t all school work homework now? And yes, I let myself get so worn down and stressed out that something that was clearly just busywork for my kids turned into a meltdown. Not all kids and not all parents learn the same way. Trying to educate by doing a few printouts… come on … this is silly. Don’t let a packet of busywork come between you and your loves.
So, this message is for all the parents out there dealing with homeschooling kids, trying to make a living working from home, and/or trying to find a job or file for unemployment or whatever we must do to survive and of course trying to find a roll of toilet paper. You guys, this is a shit show.
Education is beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic. Education is gained through experience. Let your children experience life at this time. Lead as an example, with positivity, possibility, and action. Then let your child have experiences for themselves. Build some forts, play outside, you know… old school shit.
The truth is it’s more important for your child to have mental sanity, so when they return to school in the fall or, whenever they go back, they are not emotionally damaged from what has been going on. Our children are not going to remember the specifics, or the stats or the unemployment rates of this time but they will remember how they felt while sheltering in place at home. Two to three months of arguments over doing schoolwork can cause more disruption than a few months of playing board games, spending time together, playing outside, watching some TV, and relaxing.
Okay, now I know you need your “me” time. I have taken many of these “me” breaks during this pandemic. Some of these breaks consisted of a two hour nap. Other times taking a 30-minute bath, (BTW, I am writing this in the bath …mamas gotta do what she’s gotta do) locking my door for privacy, and yes many bottles of wine have been emptied, no judgment. I could do this all because I just found ways to keep my kids engaged, so I can get away. Here are some examples:
1. Get a Prodigy account. This program is an interactive platform to help your kids with math. Yes, quality screen time and it sends you reports.
2. Get an Epic Books for Kids account. Then bribe your kid if they read X-amount of books each day and they pass the quick quiz, they will earn money towards …. whatever.
3. Give your kids the freedom to rewatch any Disney film as many times as they want. I mean we did and we turned out okay—right? Ha.
4. Tell them to go outside and play… period!
5. Allow them to Zoom or FaceTime with a family member. You don’t have to be standing over their shoulder. Breathe and walk away. Tell them to bring you your phone when they are finished.
6. Have them clean and organize their room. Yes, pay them or something. If you have multiple kids make a competition over it. The best room wins—X.
Find what works for you. No one is judging you but yourself. Stay safe and sane, and if that means throwing out the common core packets, so be it. Your relationship with your child is more important. It’s time to just teach life skills—like being a good human, cooking, talking on the phone, playing and exploring outside, listening to the birds, and you know whatever else that doesn’t involve yelling at each other. Let the shit go that brings tension between you and your kiddos. You got this!