Dear Homeschool Moms, Thank you.
Right now, you are the real MVPs as all over the country schools close for upwards of a month to help flatten the curve of infection rate for COVID-19 infections. As a work-from-home mom, I was freaking out – How am I going to manage to continue to work full time and now also have everyone at home? Most of us didn’t choose this life, and we recognize how difficult it can be. There you are, though, sharing routines & resources, offering spots in your home to working parents, and reminding us all we’ve got this. Here are the lessons, so far, that I’m taking away from your collective wisdom.
Get a schedule and routine in place.
The piece of advice that seems consistent among homeschool moms I’ve spoken to seems that having a routine in place, clear expectations, and scheduling activities is among the most important tools for keeping sanity. You may have seen the suggested daily schedule going around on Facebook (image below), I think it seems like a great place to start. My favorite part is that homeschool moms seem to all agree: quiet reading time and nap time are essential. Uh … why haven’t I been doing this all along? That’s a VIP tip right there! My other favorite tip so far was the reminder that I don’t have to be doing things WITH THEM constantly. The hint that my children often work independently at school and that it’s okay if I expect them to do it at home too, well that felt like guilt leaving my body.
Many of us are now responsible for adding two extra meals a day, five days a week to our routines. I could feel my grocery budget crying tears of stress at the thought of now 10 more food servings every single week for the next month. You’ve been right there sharing meal planning tips, recipes, and grocery lists. You’ve convinced me that with minimal planning and prep I can make this update to my routine without a huge effort or expense. I know without your help I would be resorting to a diet of pop-tarts and corn dogs every day – so much change in my routine was feeling overwhelming. No offense to the pop-tart/corn dog moms, I just can’t afford to add that much convenience pricing to my grocery bill.
Stating the (maybe not so) obvious: Get Dressed Every Day
One of my homeschool mom friends said, “If you crawl around in pajamas day & night with no way to differentiate between day/night you’re going to feel bad.” *LIGHTBULB MOMENT* Back in 2018, Lafayette Mom writer Sarah Keating shared a lesson she learned from her mentor: “A former mentor told me that when she needs to get stuff done, she gets dressed all the way to her shoes, even if she’s staying home. It’s an outward sign that sends signals to my brain that we are hustling today.” Since 2018 that lesson has stuck with me and it seems it’s a lesson we can all take into this new season. SHOES ON = STUFF DONE
The lessons you learned the hard way.
You’ve all survived the stumbles of taking this on. You’ve shared not only the grace to let us know there isn’t a single right way to do it, you’ve also admitted where you struggled and how you overcame so we can avoid the same pitfalls. What stuck out to me was the reminder that while we are all practicing social distancing, we don’t have to stay cooped up inside. Homeschool mommas are a wealth of creative ideas for activities for inside and outside to help fight off the boredom (which we all know brings tears … from everyone).
I didn’t choose the homeschool life, the homeschool life choose me … and I’m so glad you’re there to help me navigate it.