I recently read an article that under no circumstances should the next few months of our kids’ education be considered homeschool. Homeschool is a conscientious decision, with months or years of thoughtful planning. No, friends. We are crisis schooling. Our teachers are doing their best at providing quality online education. However, I think we can all agree that what my kids see on their google classroom every morning isn’t close to the ideal way for most kids to learn.
I think it’s interesting to reframe the education discussion when I change my mindset from homeschool to crisis schooling. It takes the pressure off, doesn’t it? Crisis schooling seems to allow a little more grace than homeschooling.
Let’s talk about that grace. At what point did we as parents start losing our faith in our abilities to teach our kids? Why is most of our society completely confident in raising our babes through five, but we think we’re unequipped to teach addition, reading, and social skills? Societal pressure tosses our parenting talents aside as we send our kids off it kindergarten, having us assuming and believing that someone else is much more qualified than ourselves.
And here we are, once again in charge of our children’s learning environment, and most of us feel like we can’t come up for air. We’re overwhelmed by the pressure, the unknows, and the endless tech platforms that we can’t remember all of the passwords for. So what do we do? We get lost down the rabbit hole of endlessly social media and pinterest searches, allowing ourselves to feel less than because the aspirational color-coded schedule we created during week one has become as worthless as the school lunch box now shoved in the back of the closet.
We’ve forgotten that we are capable. We can do uncomfortable things.
Amazing doesn’t begin to describe our teachers. They deserve more money and more appreciation than they’ll every receive. However, when it comes to knowing, teaching, and connecting with my three kids, who could be better qualified than me?
Are things especially amazing here at our house? 100% no. There are plenty of eye rolls, groan, and even some push back, and that’s just from the kids. The key is finding things that engage them. We have a 3rdgrader, 1st grader, and Pre-K. Are they engaged by the online learning curriculum? Hardly ever. Zoom calls? Maybe for 15 minutes. Online reading? Only if I make them.
So, what does intrigue them? Nature.
At this age, our kids learn more from unstructured outdoor time than they ever will in front of a computer screen. They are free to let their creativity run wild, making teepees, forts, fire lookout towers, restaurants, obstacle courses, bug habitats…the list is endless. They think outside of the box, make mistakes, learn to lead and follow others, get amazingly creative, engineer unthinkable things, build their self confidence in ways that a worksheet would never provide. Not only that, the outdoors is great for their physical ability, mental health, stress levels, and sleep patterns.
The great outdoors is a learning tool, a concentration builder when it’s time to fulfill school requirements, and a decompression method after feeling cooped up after a few long hours inside. Time outside is always time well spent.
I’ve come to realize this is absolutely necessary for me too. As tempting as it is relish in the quiet as a I watch from the window, I know time outside is as important to my well-being as it is to theirs.
Here’s to the outdoors, moms. We all need it, especially now!