The Joys of Homeschooling

(Caloosa Belle/Danika J. Fornear) Reporter Danika J. Fornear and her family, making the best of social distancing and schooling at home.

Speaking from current experience, it’s not at all easy to balance work, even remote work, with teaching your children during this viral crisis. I write this as my toddler is climbing on my head, chanting, “Mom, mom, mom, mommy!” She’s had a full morning of helping make sourdough pancakes, planting vegetable seeds for our garden, collecting the chicken eggs, feeding and watering our pets and livestock, and riding her scooter along the driveway. We even rode our three person bike, to the Blueberry Bunch Farm, but her energy is boundless.

I worry if she’s learning enough, if I am teaching enough. We work in reading, writing, and counting daily. We walk along the side of the road, naming trees, plants, flowers. We have even hatched Monarch butterflies. We do art projects, read books, play games, ride bikes. I work hard to limit her screen time, but admittedly that’s been happening more than usual these days.

Anyhow, my heart goes out to all the parents who are trying to balance their family’s lives amidst this craziness. I have received phone calls, text messages, and even messages via social media from parents struggling though this and wondering if they’re “doing it right.” Solidarity abound.

Recently, I came across a Facebook post from a friend, a known “pioneer woman” with six young children, all homeschooled. They work side by side with her as she bakes her own bread, makes pasta from scratch, and tends to the family’s chickens, pigs, and cattle. Sydney Roper was once employed as a teacher herself, amongst many other talents. Her post read:

“An FYI for my friends who had children in schools who are now doing school at home, this isn’t what homeschooling is like. What you’re experiencing is crisis schooling. Homeschooling is a totally different experience where the parent is the teacher not facilitating for a teacher in a time of crisis. You’re doing fine. If you have questions about homeschooling and how it may ease some of the stresses feel free to message me.”

Crisis schooling. She’s right. If you are able to provide shelter, nourishment, a safe place to sleep at night, and love- but feel you’re inadequate as the teacher at this time, just stop and breathe. You’re doing just fine.

There are tons of resources online, for science kits, arts and craft projects, math tutoring, and everything else you can think of. The teachers and staff from your child’s school are there, worried, ready to help, and out of their comfort zones, too. Give them a break, and be sure to allow yourself some grace.

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