No matter our individual schooling status, we have all found ourselves in completely new territory amid mass closures due to the current epidemic. Even seasoned home educators have had to make major adjustments in the absence of all the usual social outings, extracurriculars, and field trips. As one of those seasoned educators, I’d like to offer reassurance that even though it may not seem like it now, it will be okay. Children are incredibly resilient and Allah’s Mercy envelops all things.
Although schooling in isolation will look vastly different from homeschooling, there are some relevant insights I have gained in my time homeschooling I’d like to share in the way of encouragement:
● Be gentle with yourself. There is no guidebook for what’s happening right now. Your feelings are valid.
● You are your child’s first teacher. You taught them manners, to eat, to speak, to love. You’ve been guiding them through homework and school projects You may even be a coach or Scout leader. You’ve been doing this much longer than you give yourself credit for. Think about that.
● It’s okay to not know everything. Lucky for you your favorite search engine or video-sharing site has your back! Look it up and educate yourself before heading to the table, or do it together. It’s not cheating, and you may learn something you didn’t quite grasp the first time around in school. I’m a much better student since becoming a homeschooler.
● De-school!…because burnout is not just for adults. If you take this opportunity to slow down a bit and limit each day to a very short list of tasks, you may find that your children may be more receptive learners. Have patience with them and yourself, and let go of the feeling to press on. Like you, they may need some time and space to digest all that’s happening.
● Instructions for Instruction. Homeschooling a full range of subjects can be done in an average of 3-4 hours per day, depending upon grade level. Never force instruction upon a child or punish them because things are not going smoothly. Remove the sense of urgency, don’t assume the worst of your child, and lead with compassion and duaa. You may find the road is easier that way.
● Self-care for the family. Hydrate and get adequate sleep when possible. Get dressed every day. Go outside for some fresh air and a walk as a family. Connect.
● Screen time. If anyone has had a little too much lately, all is not lost. Especially if it has been providing stress relief and restorative mental and emotional balance. Just do your best to keep within reasonable limits.
No matter the approach you use, try to see within this difficulty the unique opportunity we’ve been given to reset our lives and refocus our priorities. When your children look back on this time in their lives, what would you LIKE for them to remember? Make a daily habit of creating that for them. Everyone will be so much better for it.