Our family had talked about switching to home-school before the pandemic happened. I was home-schooled growing up, and there are definitely some benefits I gained from it. Our older child was having difficulty making friends and conforming to the teacher’s will during that year and my partner and I were traveling a decent amount for work so it seemed to make sense. Then March hit and we didn’t have a choice. We were forced into home-schooling. We were all really excited about the flexibility that it provided and I think it has been good for us.
This year we were able to do remote learning with our neighborhood school for the beginning portion of the year, but as each kid was scheduled to go in person we switched them to a full home-schooling program. Our town has an amazing support structure for this even during normal times, and I have really appreciated it during these not normal times. I have an accredited teacher who helps guide me in picking curriculum and making sure my kids are progressing properly.
The biggest problem we have had through the entire process is managing all our emotions and understanding how each other works. With all three of us having ADHD (only I am diagnosed) the emotional disregulation is quite apparent frequently. We each get overwhelmed very easily and we each have a tendency to zone in on any project we are working on. When we want to be doing one thing but must do something else the interactions don’t always go as smoothly as I would like to say they do.
We have played with our schedule so many times during the last year that it isn’t even funny. My thought is if we have a strict schedule and routine that it will help all of us. We started by trying to keep a schedule close to the neighborhood schools, but realized that would be a problem since the kids take about an hour to complete all their school work, and are still flying through curriculum. We then switched to doing school work only in the afternoon and chores in the morning, but I felt like that wasn’t working because I wanted to touch base with the kids in the mornings before they started their school work. So we went back to a very structured schedule and tried to stretch things out, but there was so much time for each piece of material that we quickly just ignored that schedule. The other problem is that when I get into a funk, I don’t want to do anything. If I am not there to push the kids to stay on the schedule they just go crazy and one of them does their school work and all of both of their chores while the other one just plays around all day and doesn’t do anything productive. Today we switched back to chores in the morning followed by some screen time, then school work followed by more screen time. This seems to be the most successful set up because it allows for the littles to be motivated by external forces that aren’t me saying they have to do each item.
I keep reminding myself that they are learning, they are theoretically becoming caring and creative humans, and they are under the same stresses and pressures as the rest of us. We are all doing the best we can, and with get through this together (whether we always want to be together or not).