Chocolate Treats from Your Pantry

| 4/9/2020 9:35:00 AM


I’ve been on hiatus for a few days just trying to wrap my head around this new normal while simultaneously scrambling to get a workspace ready for the kiddo to start online school. We have been placed under a stay at home order until April 30, with the schools closed indefinitely. Our district has decided to move to an online education system which started yesterday. It is wonky and slow and already this morning has crashed, sending my extremely Type-A super student into an emotional nosedive that has ended in tears and a nap.

These teachers need to be paid so much more, given so much more credit and support. Every day they post words of encouragement, fun lessons that challenge and inspire, and have been a source of light and love for our kids throughout this crisis. Most of them have families of their own, are struggling with the same challenges we are — trying to balance work, keep up as much normalcy as possible, and all while trying to homeschool often multiple kiddos.

None of it is easy, and as parents, we need to lower our expectations and demands upon our kids’ teachers. It’s Ok if all they’re doing is coloring or practicing writing words they already know. It’s Ok for high schoolers to post pictures of what they’ve been doing on their “break” so far and talk about their feelings. We don’t have to be pushing our kids with additional school stress right now - you’re stressed, they’re stressed, heck even our pets are stressed. The Lazy Dog has gained about 5lbs in the past few weeks and he’s been cruising from couch to bed to bed just sleeping constantly. We’re all in this together and we all need to keep expectations reasonable.

We’ve been operating on an "unschooling’ model", during which kiddo is just given free rein to explore whatever pops into her head. So far, she’s painted a mural on her ceiling, a mural on an old broken violin, read countless books, talked with friends, counseled friends having emotional issues, started a Minecraft league, hosts scheduled online chat parties for her various friend groups and has displayed the kind of curiosity, humility and leadership kids need for life beyond school. 

Needless to say, we’re not worried she’s going to spiral into some kind of juvenile delinquent just because she’s not in a building with a formal learning plan. We’ve instilled the love of learning, the value of curiosity and exploration, and the necessity to step up and lead when no one else will. Again, thrive not just survive no matter what the circumstances. That’s not to say we’re not happy that she’ll be doing schoolwork — it gives her structure and an outlet for more interaction with others. It also gives her new subjects to explore and new ideas to work with. Her teachers in particular are keeping it very low-key so far, not making anything laborious or stressful for the kids. There’s been a worksheet and some fun questions to answer in writing, but nothing that makes me feel like they’re pushing too hard — they’re not. And to those teachers I say thank you - you guys are rock stars in my book and I’ll figure out a way to thank you all once this over!

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