As our Quarantine drags on, how are you holding up? As a homeschooler, it took some time for me to start to really feel the difference. Not leaving the house much was okay. I didn’t mind all our classes and obligations this spring were canceled. I didn’t mind staying home with my kids, I knew how to do that already. But honestly, it isn’t a banner year for us either.
Quite honestly, between a move, a health crisis with one of the kids in the fall, and this pandemic, this is probably my worst homeschooling year, ever. We’ve had hard years before. One year, I broke my leg just as school was starting. I invented bed schooling. Another year, long ago, we had a new baby just as school was starting for the year. But neither of those was as hard as this year.
Finding the Right Perspective
At times like this, I try to put things into perspective. For one thing, this is an incredibly unique experience that we are all having. No one feels on track. No one is winning at this. Most of us are doing our best to get up each day and act like things are normal as the world around us feels more and more insane.
The other thing I like to remember is that brain growth doesn’t require school. Children do need a healthy amount of stimulation, play, and conversation for brain development. But that doesn’t mean it has to be school. It doesn’t even have to qualify as “educational” to help their brains grow. Kids are designed to develop logic and reason, abstract thought, and problem-solving naturally. I’ve seen several math teachers suggest not teaching algebra until a child has hit puberty at age 12 or 13. This is because the human brain starts to rewire to understand more abstract thought during puberty.
It doesn’t matter if you are doing school right now or not, your child’s brain is growing, maturing, and making new connections. So, when you return to schooling, when all this is over, your child will be better able to do many things.
The Little Things That Count
Yes, it is great if you can get them to read some books, go out to play, or help with that victory garden you started. It is great if you can find time for board games or family movie nights. Send some postcards or write a letter to a family member. Watching documentaries and baking cookies are also solid choices right now. All of those will stimulate your child’s mind. Normal school work can wait until normal life resumes. Or, if it works for you, use school work to anchor your days. Some people take comfort in the routine. Just know that you are allowed to take days off. Life isn’t normal, and it is okay to not pretend it is.
We will get through this. Someday life will be normal again.
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.