As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Until the pandemic hits and the villagers are forced to retreat to the safety of their own homes. And you’re left standing in front of the bathroom mirror, staring at your reflection – the lone villager trying to make it on your own.
Of course, maybe you’re not totally alone – maybe you have a spouse or family to help. Friends you can call to vent about the difficulties of parenthood – the hard days, the hard nights, the hard alcohol, perhaps.
And, so you think, I can do this. I can stay inside, sit on my couch, and save the freaking world.
Then, a common core curveball hits you in the face: Homeschool. The anxiety creeps up your spine in a surge of self-doubt and vulnerability. You wonder, How do I juggle school and work? How do I work and teach? How the hell do I add fractions?
But when the village is empty, you will find a way.
Because that’s what women do.
So, take a deep breath and remember that, as cliché as it sounds, we are in this together – we might be in separate boats but we’re all navigating uncharted waters. Then grab an oar and keep on paddling. And along the way, remember…..
To give yourself a break: Your cousin Laura is blowing up Facebook with pictures of her perfect schedules and ivy-league worthy syllabus while you’re dubbing your schooling Smirnoff Academy. That’s okay! Whatever works for you is what works for you. Besides, social media isn’t the most accurate reflection of real life. Behind the scenes, Laura’s daughter is throwing an epic tantrum in the middle of her Latin lesson.
Teachers have your back: While children aren’t physically going to school, many teachers are still connecting with them through daily lessons and video conferencing. What’s more, when we finally do return to our regularly scheduled programming, teachers will be ready for children who’ve fallen behind. They’ll be ready and they’ll have a solution.
We’re making history: We might be unwitting participants in the creation of history, but we’re participants, nonetheless. Textbooks, novels, and movies will someday be written about the Great Pandemic of 2020. Children will learn about this era in school. Relics of toilet paper and elastic waistbands will grow dusty on museum shelves. What’s happening here and now is that important – we may as well embrace it. Encourage your children to keep a journal or put together a time capsule (and participate in these activities yourself). In other words, help them focus less on learning about history and more on being part of it.
What’s truly important: A year from now, two years from now, fifteen years from now, your kids won’t recall their academics from this time. Vocab lessons, math problems, videos on plate tectonics – they’ll be distant memories. Instead, kids will remember the thrill of the imaginary dragons they slew, the joy of the forts they built alongside you, the butterflies in their stomach as they climbed up on the roof to watch fighter jets soar by. They won’t remember what they learned. But they will remember, forever, how this experience made them feel.
No one’s expecting perfection: Homeschooling is a challenge……throw in having to do your own job, the stock market crashing, and – oh yeah – a deadly virus circulating in the air and let’s just say this year has been a giant pain in the ass…and the assets. So, let your kids eat cereal for dinner, let every day be crazy hair day, give them a pass if they’re not gung-ho about geography or earthquakes or the life cycle of mealworms. And give yourself a pass too. You don’t need a pandemic for permission to be imperfect: The offer is always open.
Yes, you can do it…..whatever version of “it” works. You’ll find a way – yours. Because that’s what we do.
We are women. And, here, we roar.