How are you responding to the latest COVID-19, schools are closed now the homeschooling lifestyle is for you? As a full time (2-job) single parent, this was my only fear with the Coronavirus -schools closing. With my preexisting condition, auto immune suppressed, asthma body, the only worry, and anxiety I had was, what will happen if they close the school? How will I work? Where will my daughter go? Who can watch her? Instead of my own “at-risk” health concern, these were my thoughts?!? I don’t know why we venture to always put our children first, but it’s something that we do- unconditional love I suppose.
Schools were extended to an extra spring break week...ok, I can handle that. Then, it was pushed back to April and now May. So, what next?! Where do I start?
As a former teacher, my mind went back to the struggling long nights of preparing my classroom especially the day before “meet the teacher” night. You know, the days where full chaos is the “norm!” The copier is jammed, my roster changed, I don’t have enough chairs, etc. If I could make it through that, surely, I can make it through this? But I had to pause and wrap my head around what was happening.
At this point, it’s more than education that I should be concerned about. Now, what happens when I take her to work with me and we are exposed to this thing, this horrible virus?!? Am I risking her life, my life, or others? All the while my brain is thinking about my elderly family members, food supply, and finances.
Ok, as I mentioned earlier, no thought of education. We made it through the first week of “extended spring break” with minor chaos, many tantrums, and shouting matches- primarily because it’s difficult to explain to a 5-year-old why they are home? Why are you home? Why can’t she see her friends? Why she can’t go to the playground/park?
We spent time (a lot of time) talking about what is happening. We talked about how it made us feel and why it is so important to stay safe.
Week two of “extended spring break.” We survived without any major incident, we figured out our emotions and now establishing a schedule and routine. Again, no real education has been enforced. We have been spending our time baking, doing many art projects - sand, watercolor, marker, etc.- (really fun), read tons of books - old and new, snuggled to watch a show, and played with puzzles. We have been watching Zoom videos with the teacher though- does that count as education?
Next week will be the third week of “extended spring break.” The teacher in me is finally ready to make my office into a classroom. I’ve pulled out all my old stuff and made lesson plans! I’m pumped, to say the least. I’m scrolling through Pinterest and Facebook to get ideas when I see how difficult the reality of homeschooling will be for some. It takes a certain “breed” to teach children. Just as it does with any and most professions, which is why we choose them right? I again sunk back to things out of my control like high school seniors never experiencing prom or graduation. Some of my former students were posting about graduating from college that will now be postponed or virtual. Some big life-altering things.
Let’s get back to reality and focus on the here and now- the things I CAN control!
How can I make this the best experience for my child given the grave circumstances? That will be my focal point. Sure, I will have what I’d like to accomplish educationally with her, but her social and emotional well-being is so much more important as that is the foundation of her educational journey. Without this stability, it will crumble. So, parents, focus on what YOU are able to provide for your children - whatever that may be! You cannot expect to replace a 7 hour school day but you can provide a learning environment filled with love, support and safety for them. Read to them, play with them, explore with them and embrace the quality time you have with them! You’ve got this! Hold your head high!