Crisis Schooling is not homeschooling and you can stop pretending it is. I see an onslaught of future posts/articles coming from people who now think they know what we do. They don’t. Not really. Yet, they’ll give their articles negative titles like ‘Why Homeschooling Doesn’t Work’ or ‘How Homeschooling Ruined
My My Children’s Lives”. You KNOW there are some writers out there just waiting to post such nonsense. They can’t wait to make generalisations about something they know nothing about. They can’t wait to post their salacious headlines to garner clicks from other parents that had a shit time Crisis Schooling, and so I’ll repeat; Crisis Schooling is not Homeschooling. You aren’t failing at this.
What you’re doing is not homeschooling and that sucks. You’re being told what to do and provided curriculum/worksheets/activities that aren’t necessarily conducive to the way your child learns or your ability to teach. You may be working full-time from home but also being expected to share your one computer or phone with your kids and ensure they’re signed in for live classes and zoom meetings. You might have little kids at home that you’re trying to keep alive while they jump off of your furniture to get out their energy. This is not what we do. (except the furniture part, we def do that!)
A lot of these kids have been ripped away from their regular schedules, regular teachers, regular friends. They’ve been in this routine since kindergarten or even earlier. When parents are new to our community and are pulling their kids from school we all, generally, give them the same advice. TAKE A BREAK. We refer to this as ‘Deschooling’. Time to break the schedule, internal clocks, and habits they’ve built up at school. A chance for them to unwind and reset. A chance for you to discover who you both are without the morning rush, or homework struggles, without outside influences. A chance to build a schedule and test it. Then tweak it. Then scrap it and try again! Crisis Schooling hasn’t allowed that. You went from no direction at all (and the onslaught of workbook buying that followed) and then patchy, disconnected direction that is somehow iron-clad even in it’s impossibilities. And to be clear, I am not blaming teachers! I’m hearing them too, and they’re struggling. They’re being given ridiculous perimeters to work within. They have their own kids at home to keep alive, to keep logged on, to keep zooming, to keep from crumbling. They’re being told what to do and when it’s not working they’re bearing the brunt of the blame. This is not what we do.
The best thing about homeschooling is that we get to discover what works best for our children. We have the option of tweaking things to fit them and their abilities. We can go fast or take a step back when needs be. As an eclectic homeschooler taking bits and pieces from the different styles allows us to thrive. Some parents prefer a more laid out curriculum, some prefer the openness of un-schooling. There’s freedom in that. What you are being forced to do isn’t freeing and at its worst it’s holding your family back from the potentials of actual homeschooling. There’s intention in what we do because we chose this life. Intention can make all the difference. You didn’t choose this. This is not what we do.
It’s also fair to point out that although our day to day hasn’t been completely thrown off, this isn’t what homeschooling looks like for most of us either. You might be surprised to find out that a lot of homeschooling actually happens outside the home. The idea that we spend our days trapped inside feeds into the (unfounded) stereotype that homeschooled kids don’t socialise. They do, a lot! And the bonus is that they get to socialise with all kinds of people. Different ages, different walks of life. We go to libraries, museums, national parks, swim classes, and homeschool group activities. We plan activities with our homeschooling friends. We go out! So THIS? This is not what we do!
Crisis Schooling is not homeschooling. Period. These aren’t unprecedented times though. There are plenty of examples throughout history of our ancestors having to make do. That doesn’t make it any less stressful, or painful, or weird af. There are so many factors coming into play. Money, mental health, space, access to green space, access to internet, access to technology. Some of what’s being asked of you is barely possible for some families. Not every piece of well-intentioned advice will work for you or fit your situation. It’s a mess, but we’re all getting messy together.
Take a deep breath. Remember who’s in charge of YOU. If something’s not working try to change it for the better. Be creative. Think outside the box. One day your kids will be grown and they’ll look back and reminisce about this time. I promise you they won’t tell the story of how they learned geometry but they’ll remember that you drew on the window with dry-erase markers. They won’t remember which books you read, but they’ll remember that you read to them. They’ll remember that you danced with them in the kitchen. They’ll remember that one time you burnt a whole loaf of bread you were trying to bake.
Find the good stuff. Find the quiet moments. Be adaptable. Be creative. Reset when necessary. Own your mess.
This is what we do.