2020: Homeschooling, A Newborn, And a Season to Remember

I didn’t want to homeschool my kids. I was about 4 months pregnant when Covid hit. Of course like most of the world, in March 2020, I thought it was something that would blow over and my plan for the rest of 2020 would still come to be. I was going to have a new baby to bond with while my two older kids were at school. I had a plan to really make a home. I had plans to have more time to blog and write. I had so many ideas and plans and excitement. And it took being home all of the time to completely throw off those plans. Very ironic. And the plan started changing in just three weeks.

Three weeks of virtual learning was all it took to know that the next school year would be different. Understand, that my son hit the kindergarten lottery jackpot! His teacher was amazing all year long. Unfortunately, in those three weeks of virtual learning, my boy’s penmanship declined significantly and his frustration increased. Understandable, because all of our frustrations were increased. And of course it wasn’t the teacher’s fault. It was a new process for everyone. 

With this new process came a lot of questions. How long will virtual learning last? Will my kids be forced to wear masks at school? How will their learning be affected? I felt right away that the decision to homeschool was on the table. And, to be honest, I wasn’t super thrilled about it. Now, we are here one year later and the school year has been stressful for kids, parents, teachers, administrators. EVERYONE. I am convinced that next year the majority of schools will be playing catch up, and with classrooms of 20+ students I know it is not what is best for my kids. So the decision for alternate schooling is on the table once again.

Alternate schooling, I say, but understand I support teachers and I support all you moms trying to make the best decision you can, whether working mom or not. I would never push this on anyone. This was my first attempt at homeschooling, and frankly, almost every day I found a reason to think it stunk. I made mistakes, but it was one incredible journey.

My first mistake was going off curriculum recommendations alone and not taking the time to see if it was a good fit for me and my kids. Also, I am a very disorganized person. Trying to keep a baby alive and stick to a detailed lesson plan every single day was just not going to happen. There were days where tears were shed by the children and myself. I wondered if part of it can be traced back to all of the late nights of math homework in high school. I just never got it. There were days when I felt like the same teenage girl feeling stupid and incapable. I wanted to take my college degrees and fling them into the desert, because I felt they meant nothing. During this homeschool year, it didn’t matter how much positive feedback and encouragement I received from all who were close to me. I refused to believe I was doing a good job. I heard the “Cut yourself some slack” or “Give yourself some grace” statements at nauseum and wanted to punch people in the face. I was convinced that even though I had dotted i’s and crossed t’s and had file folders full of exceptional work completed by my kiddos, that the state would come and take my kids away from me.

And then, with a month left in the school year, my daughter revealed that she liked being home, because mommy and daddy explain things way better than her teachers. Say what?! After all this time, it’s going to be okay? All of the hard work going back and forth between 1st grade, 3rd grade, nursing, cooking, cleaning, etc. It has all paid off? How?!

I will tell you how. God. At the end of the day, it has to be God. There is no other explanation. I can in no way toot my own horn. It was God’s strength all along. I didn’t seek God every day. I felt depressed almost all of the time. Challenges and trials abounded. Even in the middle of preparing this blog, I am trying to keep the baby from crawling over to the cat and biting his furry tale. (Our cat is weird and just takes it without fighting back, but I still discourage the baby bites). A few minutes ago, my son went outside to play and as he was going out the door called to me, “Bye, mama! Have fun helping Jimmy and cleaning up his poop. Have fun getting him to sleep.” I pause. I know it was an innocent remark. I try to hide the tears welling up. The door shuts and the ugly cry floodgates open. I throw my phone on the ground, it startles the baby in my arms, and he starts screaming. I quickly commence with the “Shh, shh, I’m sorry, baby” through fits of anguish almost hyperventilation. God is still with me.

And now, strangely, here I am excited about homeschooling my children next year. Happy with what the past year has taught me. Happy with the time I had with my family. Happy, in the midst of a closet full of spit-up stained shirts, and almost going a full year without writing a single word.

The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted…a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1‭-‬4 KJV)

I have discovered that it just was not a season to write, but a season to remember.

Precious memories, unseen angels
Sent from somewhere to my soul
How they linger, ever near me
And the sacred past unfolds

Precious father, loving mother
Fly across the lonely years
And old home scenes, of my childhood
In fond memory appears

Precious memories, how they linger
How they ever flood my soul
In the stillness, of the midnight
Precious sacred scenes unfold

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