Because homeschooling is a topic that’s important to me – as a mom and an educator – I belong to a lot of homeschooling Facebook groups. Parents usually post curriculum questions or share ideas in these groups. 

But over the last month, these Facebook groups have exploded. Hundreds of new members have joined, desperate to figure out HOW ON EARTH TO HOMESCHOOL right now.

I totally get it. 

So here’s what I have said to several of them. I hope this might be helpful to you today, too.

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Dear COVID Homeschooler:

I can’t even imagine what this has been like for you. Maybe you usually work full- or part-time while your kids are at school all day, but now – now, you’re all home on top of each other, sharing devices for online school and work. 

Or maybe you usually sent your kids to school while you cared for your parents, yourself, and your household, but now – now, you can’t even get to your parents, and you’re all home on top of each other as you try to wrap up the school year and keep everyone sane and healthy.

I want you to know a few things:

First: this is NOT homeschooling. These days you’re having are NOTHING like our typical homeschooling days. See, when we decided to homeschool, we did that from the driver’s seat. We picked programs and curriculum that work for our kids and our life (and the number of devices we have). 

What you are doing is something you never would have picked if you had decided to homeschool your children. (No one would!)

Please know that some of my best friends are teachers, and I know that they are doing an incredible job taking curriculum that was meant to be used in a classroom and adapting what they can to be independent, at-home work. I’m not criticizing them! 

But it’s very much like the square peg and the round hole. This may feel like it’s not working because… it can’t.

This kind of “homeschooling” is so frustrating because you feel powerless in it. 

Consequently, my second point is this: you are NOT powerless. Regardless of where you choose for your children to receive their education, YOU are in charge. God gave you these children, and ultimately, how they turn out is to the largest extent, up to you. 

So if you have multiple children and are running around like a chicken with its head cut off, please STOP. 

Just stop.

I have read comments from parents who are online schooling for 9 hours or more a day. Parents whose older kids are melting down because they put so much pressure on themselves and want to deliver the same level of attention to grades and achievement as they did before. Parents who have written, but can’t seem to possibly stick to, a color-coded daily schedule of who is on which device in which room at certain times. 

You have heard from educators (like me) that your kids’ education is extremely important. That their records and GPAs matter. That is all true in the regular world.

But right now isn’t the regular world. 

You ARE, whether you feel it or not, in a position to write your child’s teacher a note to let them know what your kid(s) will be doing. Respectfully, you can let your child’s teachers know what is just not possible right now. Please channel that internal Mama Bear and protect your kids. 

I know that feels “wrong,” but if your family life and home is in chaos because you’re trying to tick all the boxes, let me encourage you to take a step back and look at what’s important.

For most kids, here’s what is important: 

  • Mental health
  • Reading
  • Math practice

If you can just manage that, you will be absolutely fine, my fellow parents. Especially if your kids are in elementary or middle school, their grades and achievement during this time matter very little in the great scheme of things. 

Let’s take care of each other right now. Don’t let anything get in the way of making your home a place that is healthy, because it’s the only place we have to go right now. Let’s fight unrealistic expectations – those placed on us by others and those placed on us by ourselves. 

You can do this.