All around me, I see frazzled, stressed parents, seemingly hanging by a thread.
As if it’s not enough pressure to be holding down a job (or two!) and looking after their kids full-time, for most of the last year, they’ve been educating them as well. In conversations with my friends, the same topic keeps rearing its ugly head: guilt!
We feel guilty about just about everything these days, don’t we? But the way we have seemingly ‘failed’ at homeschooling tops the charts. In an effort to help take some weight off your shoulders, I’d like to share with you my top three tips for dropping the guilt that comes with homeschooling.
- Remember, there are astrophysicists, surgeons, world-class lawyers, who missed years and years of schooling due to being raised in a war zone. In the first lockdown, I was really moved by reading the story of an eminent doctor in the USA who said he had missed four years education due to the war in Bosnia. Our children will be ok; they will catch up and they will, with our love and encouragement, still achieve their potential.
- The human brain is miraculous in its kindness. What I mean by this is that memories, good or bad, soften over time. The edges get worn and ragged and fuzzy. So, all those nights you’re lying awake worrying about how you shouted at your child over their inability to grasp fractions, they won’t remember that. If you feel you really overstepped the mark, don’t be afraid to apologise to your child and then move on! They’ll learn lots from seeing you analyse your behaviour and make amends for it.
- Hopefully, there will never be a time like this in your child’s life again. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s a very small chunk of their education. Instead of stressing about whether they’ve fallen behind and feeling you’ve let them down, focus on resettling them into school. Make sure they feel supported and know they can talk to you about anything that’s making them feel anxious. Formulate a plan with them about how you might work together to catch up, maybe through nightly reading or perhaps through a meeting with their teacher. Stress that their attainment doesn’t take priority over their happiness.
Some people choose to home educate their children and, even when there is no pandemic happening, there are still times when it gets tricky; the darker side of homeschooling is real.
It will take time for us all to process this crazy year. Be kind to yourself and accept that you did your best. That is always enough!
*Sarah writes about all things happy and hopeful at www.thegoodthingisthough.co.uk