This may not be for every family, but it is certainly what mine needs right now. I am making our homeschool as simple as possible.
It’s been a lot like the movie Groundhog Day here this week.
Every day feels the same, with no end in sight. My children are feeling it. I am feeling it. My husband,
hiding working upstairs is feeling it.
I am not focusing well – I can only imagine how my two boys, who already struggle with attention issues, are feeling.
Why I’m Keeping Our Homeschool As Simple As Possible
One thing is clear – we need the routine that our homeschool provides. All of us, especially my kiddos.
A friend of mine told me last week that her son was loving this season – all the screen time, none of the pressure. I sighed and tried not to feel jealous.
My children are wandering the house, melting down more significantly than they have in years, and struggling to find their footing. They can have as much screen time as they like, but neither of them can really focus long enough to engage.
Increasing anxiety, decreasing mood stability and overall lack of control are making things a little tough around here. We depend on our homeschool routine to cope.
A reader commented on my Facebook page last week, essentially scolding me for being negative and not sharing about the all families who are doing well right now.
I get it. I don’t want anymore negativity in any of our lives right now.
So, if you are doing well, please let me genuinely say, “Great job! Seriously, this is not easy and you are rocking it.”
I don’t want more negativity, but I do need a sense of community and of being understood. Incidentally, there are not a ton of comments or examples of special needs moms feeling like they are doing great right now. There are far more comments begging for something, anything to make this a little easier – I suspect they are like me, needing to feel a little less alone in all of this.
At the beginning of the year, I made the decision to intentionally focus on the good, every Wednesday, when I send an email out listing two or three things that worked for us over the course of the past week.
Sometimes, I share cool new products or ideas that I have for helping my kiddos.
Last week, I listed chocolate, y’all. Chocolate.
It’s what worked.
After I sent the email last week, and with that comment in mind, I starting thinking about what else I would share to try to help.
I read all the replies from you and one very clear message came through from every single mom who took the time to reach out –
I am overwhelmed.
This is really hard.
I am sure I am failing.
My response last week was this –
It’s the greatest piece of advice I can possibly give you. Keep showing up. Do the best you can. Love your kids. It’s the only secret I have to share. (from One Thing You Need To Know Right Now)
This week, I want to share real-life, practical examples of how we are working through all of this.
Essentially, it comes down to this – I am keeping our homeschool as simple as possible, while still maintaining some sort of routine.
How To Make Your Homeschool As Simple As Possible Right Now
FOCUS ON INTERESTS AND STRENGTHS.
You know I already use my sons’ interests and natural strengths to fuel about 80% of our learning.
These days, it’s about 99%.
My oldest has had perseverative interests in fish tanks, computers and guitars for years. (Many of you have followed along all these years and have seen how these passions have ebbed and flowed.)
These strong interests serve many purposes, and right now, they are helping him cope. We can’t just go walk around the fish store or Guitar Center right now to help him calm down, but we are doing it through YouTube. Yesterday, we watched video after video of people building new guitars and taking tours of guitar plants.
It’s the only thing that really helps.
RELY ON ONLINE RESOURCES.
My youngest son is taking online classes about Minecraft and Harry Potter through Outschool.
Both boys watch a YouTube video about history at the beginning of our “school day”.
My oldest takes online classes through his hybrid school in the afternoon.
In all these instances, the academic expectation matters so much less to me than the routine, the structure and the ability to connect with the outside world. Plus, it gives me a much needed break from what often feels like a bit of a pressure cooker.
I find that right now, I am worrying less about end of the school year expectations and more about what we can do and learn today. Now is not the time to fill in learning gaps or tackle the high school transcript. For us, it’s time to focus on the things that bring a sense of calm, on practicing our coping skills and doing the best we can to live well together.
It’s letting go and doing the best we can.
It’s reminding myself that it’s temporary, even when it feels like Groundhog Day.
It’s keeping it simple.