For 12 years I homeschooled my older children. It was an adventure, to say the least. It’s scary, fun, rewarding and you question yourself daily if you want me to be honest. For most parents, the 2020-2021 school year will give them many of the same feelings as we are being thrown into the unknown of split schedules, strange bus routes, virtual schooling, and a myriad of other “new normal” that seems to be changing daily. So let’s just make this statement from the get-go.
Don’t come at me with any judgment and do not ask my children any questions pertaining to their uncertain educational situation.
I don’t care if you homeschool, virtual school, school IRL, split schedule, sleep all day and unschool all night, or if you chuck it all out the window and get an RV to travel the country. Whatever you do is YOUR business. It will be your decision for your family. I won’t judge you and you can do the same in return. When we meet, maybe in person, in passing, online, in mom groups, whatever or wherever I promise not to question your decisions.
This also extends to my children. Over the years of homeschooling, I frequently would find myself in conversation with random people who took it upon themselves to just bypass me and ask my children strange questions about their school situation. It inevitably makes children uncomfortable and to be honest, it’s just rude. Let me share a few examples.
Do not ask: “Does the mask make you uncomfortable?”
I mean of course it does if you tell them it does. Most kids are just rolling with it. Because they’re resilient and no one has told them they should have a problem with it. Model kindness by keeping a positive attitude.
Instead say: I love the design of your mask and you’re wearing it so well. I’m proud of you.
Do not ask: “What did your mother/teacher teach you today?”
And most certainly do not follow this up with a demand to know the answer to a math problem, say their alphabet, or how a word is spelled. Absolutely not. My child does not answer to you about what they’ve learned because it is not your business.
Instead say: I am sure you are having a great school year. You’re doing great.
Do not ask: “Are you afraid of getting sick?”
Full stop. Right here.
Instead say: Nothing. You can say nothing.
How each family handles the level of information about Covid-19 that they share with their child is their business. Please do not assume or instill fear in a child by flippantly asking them nosey questions. We are in unprecedented times for our generation. Our teachers don’t have the answers, we don’t have the answers and our children don’t have any answers. As adults, it’s our job is to make sure that our child feels secure.
It’s time to think about better ways to talk to the parents and children we come in contact with.