One year ago, in the face of a dooming pandemic, I made the difficult decision to homeschool.
Oh, I worried.
I worried about FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I worried about them becoming hermits, afraid of unfamiliar shadows. I worried about them being taught by their mom, because as a former teacher myself, I know the power of a teacher’s ability to reach students in a different way than other teachers, parents or friends and I wanted that for them.
In all honesty, I still want to be that for other students.
I worried about them being left behind, especially as they witnessed their friends still attend our beloved, local school.
Ultimately, I went with my gut and we had an incredible year.
Spring arrived and with it, the hope of the pandemic’s near-end.
I started to prepare the girls for their return to school in the Fall, casually mentioning how cool it would be to wave to their friends in the hallway on their way to P.E., Music or Art class. Did they know the Fall Festival was already booked for this year? Were they looking forward to the Fun Run?
But upon Summer’s dawn, doubt settled in.
A vaccine, that I had traveled to another state to get just so I could get it as soon as possible, was available and yet, less than half the country had opted to receive it. The country was split- my body, my choice/ our country, our responsibility.
Now, variants are on the rise and social distancing measures, including masks are still required at school.
Holding a Masters in Elementary Education, I am in a unique situation.
My husband has worked from home since the pandemic began and I am able to stay home to teach with hired help to occupy the girls not currently in lesson.
Moreover, apparently I made homeschooling too fun. All three big girls have begged to continue; and while part of me felt that this was fear-based on having been away for a year, I couldn’t bring myself to convince them that their school could provide a better learning environment than what we had going on right in the Carawan Classroom.
My *entire* experience as a parent has been blessed with the wisdom of my elders: Don’t blink. Cherish these days. It goes by SO fast.
Combine the pandemic, the pressure from my children, the wisdom of my elders and my innate joy in continuing to teach my daughters, and here we are.
A year ago, I tossed and turned at night, wondering what to do about the upcoming school year.
My children were breaking down over their zoom meetings- unable to come to the computer, overwhelmed with tears over the strangeness of virtual learning.
I knew Covid was only going to get worse in the winter months and feared what the school year would bring. But I also feared how we would cope and adapt to homeschooling. Would my children miss their friends? Would they become hermits? Would I lose my mind?
Ultimately, I went with my gut and in September, we dove right in. Pre-K, 1st and 3rd grade.
In the course of this past school year, I’ve taught my daughter in Pre-K how to read, helped my first grader graduate from a beginning reader to fluently reading chapter books and taught my third grader multiplication, division, and through rich literature, discussed real-world issues like racism and poverty.
In other words, I killed it! We nailed it. We had the absolute BEST time homeschooling, usually in our pajamas, ending by noon every day to spend the afternoon outside swimming, biking and playing. Better yet, my husband was working from home so we had lunch together almost every day. In so many ways, I want to freeze time and keep on, keepin’ on.
But time continues to pass. My children are growing older. Our babysitter is off to college in the fall (for real this time after deferring her first year because of Covid) and my husband will likely return to the office soon.
I struggled over the decision as to whether to continue homeschooling next year or to return them to our beloved public school in the back of our neighborhood. But as amazing as this past year was, continuing to homeschool next year felt like holding onto a relationship that had passed its prime. It was good while it lasted but my gut tells me it is time to move on.
Life is a work in progress. A series of never-ending surprises. Having four children has taught me to roll with whatever comes my way and in the midst of it all, revel every moment. And this past year, we did just that. That time we homeschooled. A year we’ll never forget.