When I first started teaching, more than a decade ago, I worked in a school where a child's parents had been through divorce. The father in the family had abruptly left his high paying job and spent all day, every day doing puzzles. He was the primary caregiver. The child was a warm, bright and kind person.*
At the time I remember thinking that this was rather odd, but now in the time we live in I reflect on multiple things.
-The child was loved and cared for.
-The father was doing what he needed to do to help him get through and find his new normal.
-Children are resilient.
-How people get through difficult times and traumas differ. His story is not my story, and mine is not his.
This leads me to the "reluctant homeschooling" situation I, like many of you are in.
I want to be frank, even if you are a trained teacher this "Schooling at home" thing is not an easy gig.
Throw in a neuro diverse child and mental illness (mine) and you have yourselves an extra set of challenges.
Mr 5 does not do a "full work cycle." We start our "school" day, every day with Go Noodle for 30 minutes then we do "Mummy School" which is anywhere between 10 minutes and an hour. Today's was at the 10 minute end as Mr 5 is having a hard day (frickin daylight saving!)
It varies in content but has included hopscotch, playdough, modified moveable alphabet activities with lots of jumping and fetching letters and words, games with dice, reading, coloured bead stairs and dancing.
We don't have any way of getting supplies like toys etc as only supermarkets, pharmacies and essential things like heaters, blankets and clothes are available.
Fortunately, I have found lots of stuff I have collected over the years like random stickers, activity books and teaching materials, sometimes they capture Mr 5's attention and we get an hour or so of engagement, sometimes we get five seconds.
Mr 5 wants lots of attention some of this is due to missing his friends a lot, some is due to him trying to figure this whole virus thing out.
You do you.
You do not need to make your home look like a school.
Look after yourself.
I truly get the working from home thing and childcare thing. It is not an easy gig.
If your child appears to be doing little "learning" don't sweat it. Are they safe? Do they feel listened too? Do they have the opportunity to connect with safe adults? Are they fed and healthy? Then you have been successful.
*Some details changed to protect anonymity - the sentiment is still there though!
See more in my series of teaching at and from home here
Thank you for writing this. It is hard and I think most parents think that their child is not learning because they are not in school. I think we parents try to keep a sense of normalcy for our sake, not theirs. Children are resilient and they look at this quarantine as a time to spend with family and doing what they want to do, but are willing to do school work if they have to, but why when they could be doing fun things like going outside or playing a game. For them that is normal, play.
Like you, my husband and I are tag-teaming to take care of our only child. We are fortunate that we have a house with books and resources, a large yard , woods in the back we can use to go hiking, two dogs, a cat – a flock of wild birds outside to learn from. The only thing we need is more time to do all the things we must (work), we want (play) and we have to (clean the house).
But THANK YOU, for saying that this time to be homeschooling while working is hard.
All the best,