Historically, humans choose their professions based on; goals, supply, and demand, specific interests, finances, social pressure, family history, you name it.
When we are forced to operate in an unknown dimension, everything changes; we do not see the balance, we feel lost, trapped, disoriented, the situation looks that has no end. That is the way how homeschooling got us because of the COVID -19 pandemic.
We were caught off guard; without weapons, tools, knowledge, or experience, we did the best we could, and we finished the 2019-2020 school year with ups and downs, stumbles, pride, tears, frustrations, virtual graduations, struggles, and love, we conquered, and we succeed.
But to be able to write the achievement in our resume, we had to reinvent ourselves, ask for help, make space at home, become IT experts, change schedules, be in pajamas the whole day, skip meetings, skip lunches, have adults tantrums, scream to our kids, fight with husbands/wives, call other kids parents and have 1-hour conversations just asking: How are you doing it?, drink wine at any time of the day and have professional zoom meetings with kids voices as background.
Summer arrived, and most of us thought, IT IS OVER, the new school year will be different, we’ll return to the “normality,” or at least what we used to call normality. With a heavy heart, sister to sister, sister to brother…I have to tell you that we were so wrong. There is no more what we were before, what we used to be, or what we did for a living… EVERYTHING changed, and for the following months, maybe more than a year, we will continue the homeschooling struggle.
During the summer, every time we were talking with family or friends and everybody was wondering how 2020-2021 school year was going to be. My husband started talking and saying with immense confidence,” it will be distance learning; there is no way that the kids could go back to school”…I wanted to go inside him and twist all his organs. Still, as a grown-up, I managed, until one day that in our dining room ( which we converted in our home office double desk with three monitors) I told him, I want to ask you a favor: Can you please stop saying that we’ll return to distance learning when kids are back to school?, very deep in my mind I knew it was a real and maybe the only possibility but, I didn’t want to hear it, I didn’t want him to be the one by whom I was feeling attacked, of course, he stopped.
I must admit homeschooling hit me very badly, and I want to clarify that I was aware that there were millions of families whose situation was way worse than mine. Still, I felt like homeschooling was destroying me. They were no difference between home and work hours; all the days were alike, no time to draw the line between weekdays and weekends; it was confusing, the world stopped, but the time was passing over us, and we were under a strange new way to live.
Don’t get me wrong, of course, my son’s and all the kids’ safety and health will always go first on my priorities; we were not prepared for this. Not all family situations are the same; to be successful as parents, marriage, jobs, schools, we need to balance. We were born in a generation where everybody has their responsibilities. We have experts in every job, and they were trained for their job description with the right tools and methodologies. We pay for services that help our existence, needs and make life easier for us.
But the reality is that with distance learning, there is no work-life balance; actually, there is no balance at all in this new life, and it won’t be soon.
While the economy is opening, and people are getting back to their jobs and offices, the new school year is approaching without a solution; maybe some parents will quit their jobs, others will be implementing the homeschooling methodology as their new model until kids go to college, others will be fired since they don’t have any help or support with their kids and others like me, will be between spreadsheets, deadlines, presentations, zoom calls, Skype meetings, second-grade reading books, math problems, and virtual tests, trying to survive the system.
I assure you that things are not moving in the same direction; they are not getting synchronized, kids need to stay at home while parents need to go out to work. We can’t expect flexibility from companies that we work with ( we are lucky if they do) due to, at the end of the day, they are a business that needs to continue running and making their numbers.
Knowing my reality, I’m still thinking and figuring out how we will do it in the new school year; I know we will…everything will align at some point, but we are not there yet.
Homeschooling, please treat us with compassion; in our experience, you almost destroyed me…