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Quarantine Ramblings - Education Editions

Just some thoughts about education during this strange time in our history.

Patrick and I homeschooled Lydia and Christopher for most of their academic careers. It worked out best for our family. And both kids made it to college! But, homeschooling isn't the right choice for all families. And that's just fine. Christopher did his last two years of high school at Wega-Fremont. Patrick started teaching at the local high school the year that Christopher started his junior year. For the last five years, he has been teaching Math, Engineering, and Computer Programming.

Patrick and I loved home education, but we recognize that it's not for every family. Schools are the best option for educating many children. But, with the Covid-19 quarantine, a lot of parents have found themselves thrust into the position of either homeschooling their kids or helping their kids manage their school work online. And when you aren't prepared for something like this, it can be pretty overwhelming!

I've seen a lot of funny things on Facebook and Twitter about how we need to start to pay teachers more. And, yes, we do need to pay them more!! Our teachers pour their heart and soul into their students every day. Just like you're doing right now!

If you're able to be at home with your school aged child right now, first of all, be thankful that you don't have child care issues! Second of all, try to relax. You don't have to be a teacher with lesson plans and organization. You need to be a parent.

If you aren't able to be at home with your kids because you work outside the home, I hope you have good childcare arrangements. I can't imagine having to sort this out with no warning in a pandemic like this. But, most of what I'm going to say applies to you too.

During this crisis, kids need parents who show them love every day. Kids also need sameness, as one of my residency teachers used to tell us. Don't try to replicate school at home, but do try to have some structure to your day. Eat meals at regular times, have some reading time, have some school time (if the school sent home work, otherwise maybe just do some basic math review), have some screen time, etc. Don't get too zealous, but let kids know that you are there for them and that even though life is crazy, they can count on you being there.

Please read aloud to all of your children, even your teenagers. This is precious family time and even older kids benefit from this activity. Younger kids can follow the plot lines of books like Harry Potter while older kids and adults still find them quite interesting.

Early elementary kids don't need much academic stuff. Read to them, have them read to you, do a little math, have them help you in the kitchen, and you'll be good. Older kids probably have some stuff from school to do. This is where the whole "homeschooling" thing comes in. Use the internet for resources. For example, if you don't do well at explaining math or science, check out Khan Academy. There's lots of other stuff available. In addition, most teachers are having online "office hours". Encourage your kids to take advantage of them.

Mostly, though, love your kids. Try as much as possible to enjoy them. I know it's going to be rough sometimes. If you are used to having your day to yourself, or if you work at home, they are going to be disruptive. Make sure to send them outside to run around if possible.

Don't worry about them not getting enough academic stuff done. They'll be fine. They'll pick up what they need to eventually.

Remember, these kids are stressed. They may not look it or may not talk about it, but they're life is turned upside down. Even kids who say they don't like school are distressed because going to school is the normal part of life and now normal is gone. Limit the news shows that you watch to keep your and your kids' stress levels under control.

We're going to get through this. Follow all the CDC recommendations. Don't go places. Follow social distancing. Love your kids.

Any ideas you want to share for other families? Any encouragement from other homeschooling families who have survived?


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