Relax, mama. You’re going to survive the COVID-19 school closures.

Relax, mama. You're going to survive the COVID-19 school closures.

Okay, mama. Grab your glass of wine or cup of hot tea or, who knows, oat milk, and take a second to have a deep breath. Let’s chat.

School is going to be closed. For a long time. But we’ll get through this.

I know you’re going crazy. I am too. Every single thing my kids have scheduled for the next three years, it seems, has been cancelled or postponed. We’re trying to potty train, and we have no toilet paper. It’s insane.

And, now you’ve had the task of homeschooling your kids thrown at you too. And work. So you can pay your kids’ daycare or school tuition. Which they’re not using. Because school is closed. Forever. I promise. It’s going to be okay.

We pulled our kids out of school two years ago to homeschool, and I felt the immediate pressure to do a better job than their school. With more work and harder assignments and leveled-up curriculum choices.

But then I started reading about learning. And teaching. And children.

More like this: The ancient family way: Is ‘raising our kids to leave us’ actually a terrible idea?

You guys, kids learn so much when we give them freedom. Freedom to pursue what they’re interested in. Freedom to explore and be bored. Freedom to read what they want, not what’s been assigned.

So give yourself some freedom too. Look at this break from school as an experiment. Don’t feel the need to pack every waking minute with formal education. Look at this time off as a chance to try something new when it comes to your kids’ education.

And no: you do not have to be hands on, looking over their shoulders the entire time. A schedule can help, as long as you know there’s no chance you’ll actually stick to it most of the time.

Instead, hand them a good book—or better, let them pick their own from your stack of choices (may we recommend Stand Up Guys?)—and send them out to the hammock with instructions to read (and draw and journal about what they’re reading) for the next hour.

Order an inexpensive nature journal online or make your own, and ask them to write about what they see outside. Then come in and Google it or look it up in any science books you might have on hand.

If your kids are older, give them the freedom to do a deep dive into their passion for a while. Write songs and record them on Garage Band. Work on their merit badges for Scouting and put that Eagle rank or Gold Award within closer reach.

If you work and have been asked to work from home too, involve your kids in your job. Show them what you do day to day. Maybe even give small assignments to them, if your work allows it. It will give them a great glimpse into your responsibilities. At worst, it will help them appreciate your load outside the home more. At best, it will ignite a passion in them as well.

More like this: How toxic masculinity is hurting our boys’ friendships and what we can do about it

Covid-19 quarantine schedules to give you a good laugh.
Credit to Jessica McHale Photography for the brilliant sample schedule. Still searching for the source on the parody version.
Of course, this isn’t going to go as you plan. You will have bad days where your kids argue with you and each other. They’re going to whine and ask to play video games because school is on a break! They’re going to get distracted and you’re going to feel like a nag.

But is that really all that different from your normal life?

You’ll also have great moments of enjoying this time together with them. Of knowing that deep down, underneath the chaos and the spilled juice boxes and the millionth time they’ve asked “What’s for dinner?”, being together really is a gift. Part of me can’t help but think God’s walking among us right now saying, Remember that Sabbath thing? I meant it. Take a break. Rest. You need it.

Who knows, maybe you’ll be pulling yours out of school next year and continuing the homeschool life next year. Life has a way of surprising you that way sometimes.

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