Homeschooling during COVID-19

We’ve just completed our first full week of schooling at home while our schools are shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We survived. Barely. I’ve homeschooled my children for almost 21 years. At this point, we know what we are doing….or so we thought.

Little Princess is fairly independent and autonomous with her studies. I have to help her with just a few things, but mostly she works through her assignments and we discuss. And, if I am honest, sometimes I don’t follow up and she gets behind because my life is insane. Overall, though, she is a good self-learner. Curious George, my other (still) homeschooled child, is also a good independent learner. He is very OCD organized about his work: he writes each week’s assignments out on one of his assignment sheets, and we even have the days I am in school designated as “read with Dad” days. He has the subjects he reads with me and the ones he reads with the Handy Man. He is on top of his math and grammar, although he is trying to weasel some laxity on my part because we have more weeks of school than lessons left.  Overall, though, despite his intense need to adhere strictly to his schedule no matter what is happening in our home, he is a good self-learner. I will say, though, that this week has been challenging him, not because of the work, but because of the extra students in our home.

And that leads me to the public-schooled at home crew.  Lil’ Adventurer has all his classes in Google Classroom, and he is doing great. He is finishing his assignments early and getting in all kinds of extra learning games his teachers have set up for their students. We were fortunate to be able to arrange the use of a Chromebook from his school so he could be more independent. Simply too many people need access to the computer for him to be on it all morning. Of course, this week, the computer access was even more challenging because our old, faithful desktop finally gave up its digital ghost. (I had a new computer already. In fact, I have had it since November, but I had not taken the time to transfer all my files and set up the new machine. In retrospect, I should have.)  Sweet Pea was sent home with half a ream of Pre-K worksheets to do. I am getting daily emails from her teachers, and it is obvious that they love and miss their little ones. Sweet Pea eagerly waits for me to get out the worksheets and assign her “work” for the day. 

PJ is a different story. She is our reluctant, “I hate school”, learner. If I was using MY curriculum, it would probably be different. I certainly would not teach math the way that Common Core teaches math. (To be fair, her teacher also dislikes how she is being made to teach.) It is frustrating for her. Add to this the ADD and the multiple distractions of having four other students doing FOUR OTHER THINGS at the same time, and our school days are exhausting. And long. Teaching this child with this curriculum is far, far harder than any homeschool scenario I have experienced. (And, if you recall, dear reader, I homeschooled elementary, middle, and high school while having my last two babies.) Poor PJ is so eager for school to be back in session!  I don’t blame her.

It is rather ironic that homeschoolers have fought for years to be seen as legitimate, fighting for our rights in legal battles in virtually every state, but now, most children in our state are now schooled at home. There are a lot of memes around about how everyone is a homeschooler now. And while we are all educating our children at home during this pandemic, the fact is that homeschooling is very, very different from doing public school at home.  It’s a difference I am seeing first-hand in our home, and frankly, I prefer my way. However, we will play along as long we must.  I might be the living embodiment of the meme I saw yesterday:

Homeschooling is going well. Two kids suspended for fighting. One teacher fired for drinking on the job.

Okay, not really. I rarely drink. But I might start if these mandatory school closings last longer than the two weeks we started with.  God bless our teachers. God bless our new population of public-school at home moms and dads!


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