Homeschooling, Parenting, School

This Isn’t Normal

When “mandatory homeschooling” started for everyone back in March of this year, I felt excited at the prospect of people experiencing homeschooling for the first time. And I secretly hoped that my dream of building a tribe of alternate educators / families would come to fruition! 

Homeschooling can be a lonely experience sometimes, so I was excited at the prospect of growing a larger community of homeschoolers … to learn with … to play with … to “do life” with …

I yearned that people would “flock” to this alternate model of learning … to this alternate (and totally awesome) way of “doing life.” An “old school” way of life where children are learning at HOME … with their parents close by …

Would families who were homeschooling for the first time decide they really liked it? Would they discover that this way of life suited their family well? Would they see their children thrive? 

I sure hope(d) so … 

But the reality is … this, what we’re doing right now, isn’t homeschooling … sure, your kids are at home right now, and, sure, they’re probably learning a few things, but this isn’t homeschooling in it’s most glorious state …

In “normal” homeschooling, there’s field trips. There’s learning camps. There’s time with “the experts.” In “normal” homeschooling, there’s chances to chat with other homeschool moms and dads. There’s helpers. There’s “voice” and “choice” in what to learn and when. In “normal” homeschooling, there’s extra time with grandparents. There’s time to learn and perfect a new hobby. There’s trips to the library. In “normal” homeschooling, there’s opportunities to explore new places. There’s travel. There’s time to get lost in something your child is interested in. In “normal” homeschooling, there’s community. There’s opportunities to volunteer. There’s seemingly unlimited access to books and materials (but now, we can’t shop or purchase the materials we need). In “normal” homeschooling, there’s opportunities to serve. Child care for younger children is an option. There’s chances for “real-life learning” (like trips to the grocery store). There’s a support system. In “normal” homeschooling, there’s a chance to create and maintain your own schedule.

Sure, lots of these things can still be “accomplished” when homeschooling during a worldwide pandemic, but some of the MOST IMPORTANT things like COMMUNITY or HELPERS or A SUPPORT SYSTEM aren’t the reality right now during your “mandatory homeschooling” experience.

And, so I worry … I worry that my dream of building a tribe of homeschoolers won’t come to fruition after all, because what you’re experiencing right now is really hard, actually. I worry that you can’t wait to send your kids back to school … to get them out of your hair … I worry that you’ll give up on an alternate model of education … forever … I worry that you’ll miss out on a way of life that is extra, extra special … 

Amidst the trials and challenges of self-isolating and attempting to “do school” from home, I truly hope you’ve experienced some really special blessings in the last 46 days since schools in Saskatchewan closed. I hope those special blessings, and my list of all that “normal” homeschooling can be, has you at least CONSIDERING an alternate model for your family going forward.

After all, it’s a perfect time to restructure your life … build a new (perhaps more favourable) reality for your family … in the stripping away of everything “non-essential” in the last 46 days, I hope you’ve had a chance to consider … I mean REALLY CONSIDER … what parts of your life you’re going to rush back to … 

In the meantime, I’m not going to give up on my dream of “building a tribe” … even if it grows in a really slow but steady way … quality over quantity, right?

* * * * * * * * 

IMPORTANT SIDENOTE: My almost seven-year-old daughter can’t wait to go back to school. This way of life isn’t for everyone … it isn’t for every kid … it isn’t for every Mom … I know and understand that, but if trying “normal” homeschooling is on your heart (or has been on your heart for awhile, even before it became mandatory), I hope this piece gives you the encouragement you need to give it an honest try under “normal” circumstances. My own homeschooling journey HAS NOT been perfect; it’s been full of trials and challenges, but for my oldest daughter, a “normal” homeschooling model (described in all its glory above) is best. She’s really trying to get her sister on board 🙂 

 

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