How to Homeschool and Not Feel Like a Failure
After almost two months of homeschooling, it's time to admit that I really don't know what in the heck I'm doing. But I think there is one key to not feeling like a total failure, and it's really pretty simple.
At the beginning of the school year parents never would have guessed that by the end of the year we'd have become the teacher, superintendent, principal, librarian, art teacher, P.E. teacher, and the lunch lady too. All of that while trying to hold down our own jobs, keeping up with laundry, and keeping the cats from scratching the furniture. The last six weeks have been an adventure, to say the least. And I feel like I've failed.
I've helped the kids sign in for countless Zoom meetings and I've gone over emails from teachers with them every night to make sure they're on top of assignments, and I've gone over as much homework as possible. But if I'm in the middle of something for work and they come to me with a question that takes a lot of thought, I always put them off until late in the day when I have more time. I know we're supposed to take care of ourselves and have "me" time, but it doesn't feel good when the kids' academic futures are at stake. A teacher would answer their questions if they were in school, and I feel like by homeschooling they're missing out because they have a mom with divided priorities. Ugh.
My second grader always finishes school early and ends up with nothing to do. So I've been digging up live animal cams at zoos and virtual museum tours, and she's blown through most of those too. She hasn't had the equivalent of a full school day in weeks.
There are several sites that have free resources, including Scholastic which has programs based on grade level that can be customized for families or teachers.
Bamboo Books has an Alexa skill that will challenge students to master different levels right there on the smart speaker. Just say, "Alexa, open Bamboo Books" to get going.
The Facebook group Amazing Educational Resources has projects involving reading, math, history, Chinese, coding, music, and more. There are STEM courses and Gifted and Talented options too.
Maybe the key to not feeling like a failure is to let go and embrace the imperfection, and after that moment of self-acceptance is over, point the kids toward the free resources. And we should probably give up on policing screen time because limiting that is a pointless endeavor right now. Screens are a parent's friend and we need them.
Only a couple of weeks to go, right? And then what in the world are we going to do this summer.