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Humor@Home: Back to Remote Learning

Memories of My First Year of Homeschooling

A favorite homeschool outfit

If I were the parent of a child going back to school this fall, this is what I would be doing right now: FREAKING OUT.

So, the plan WAS to go back to school with masks and hand sanitizer and no recess. And NOW the plan is distance learning. Oh, but wait. It depends on your district. But wait. Not all of the districts have made their final decision yet. Oh, but wait. Some districts will give you a choice of several options. Oh, but wait. Not every district will. And oh, if you are doing distance learning, you will need money for internet service and laptops instead of glue sticks and backpacks this year.

So yeah. There is all that.

All this FREAKING OUT and general panicking has me reflecting on my first year homeschooling my kids. Oh, I had ideas. Ambition. Plans. 

I also had a five-year-old and a two-year-old. They had Other Plans.

My plans involved getting up early and starting the day by getting dressed and lining up at the door to our “classroom.” We had Spanish class first, so they were to greet me in Spanish when they came in the door. I took attendance. Some days we “rode the bus” before we lined up. This involved me making “vroom, vroom” noises while they followed behind me wearing backpacks as we walked down the hallway.

Now we do school in our pajamas (or princess outfit or swimsuit and goggles or whatever else they happen to be wearing--or not wearing), and I don’t complain if they sit on the table. Or under the table. Or on the dog bed. 

That first year, we had a schedule. And nothing would get in the way of the schedule. I would tell my mom friends, “Oh, sorry, we can’t meet for a play date today. We have to finish page 23 of math this afternoon.”

After a while, though (and up until this past March), I started saying things like, “Meet at the park? That counts as PE AND socialization. Bring it on!”

In the early homeschool days, I would tell my children things like, “Oh, you don’t feel well today, Honey? OK, I will just test you on math facts and spelling words while you rest.”

Now sick days merit “Bill Nye the Science Guy” videos. My kids love those videos (mostly because we have a “no screen time” rule, so they think they’re getting away with something really big when I let them watch anything).

We learned—ahem, my kids taught me—that what they need are nature walks and field trips and art projects and science experiments and cooking lessons and chores and running around outside pretending to be horses or astronauts and lots and lots of “read alouds”—along with book work.  They don’t need fancy curriculum. They don’t need me to pretend that our home is a “real” school. They just need lots of hands-on learning to complement the book learning.  

All that preparing and planning? Waste. Of. Time.


I would have been better off gazing into their eyes until they asked me, “How much does an elephant weigh?” “How fast will this marble fall from upstairs?” “Can we build a shelf for my stuffed animals?” “Can we try dipping carrots in honey and sprinkles like ‘Hilary who is a boy’ does in our ‘Penny Dreadful and the Horrible Hoopla’ book?” Because I found that if I just stop and listen, they will ask.

May all the children get their questions answered and their needs met this school year.

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Tags: Education, Featured Story, Parenting, Preschool, Tweens & Teens

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