So, we are just about to start week three of our home learning and what a rollercoaster it has been so far. The age gap between my kids hasn’t really helped at all– having an eager 2-year-old and not so eager 6-year-old has had its challenges!– but I have slowly been working through this and trying my best to find the best balance I can in this very strange situation. So, what I have learnt? Other than that Pluto is no longer a planet?! I have learnt this about attempting to be a home learning parent…
1. Trying to be Superwoman isn’t possible
I went into this situation being as organised I could be. I set up our homeschooling area, I researched online resources and I prepared myself mentally. What I couldn’t prepare for was the fact that in order to do this successfully I actually needed 5 of me!! As that is never going to happen (unfortunately) I have to deal with the fact that I cannot physically keep a house tidy, keep both kids happy all the time, keep the mood light, be on top of of the chores and be able to do my own work consistently. I am not superwoman, none of us are, we can only do what we can do.
2. Shouting is always bound to happen
Because we are all human, because none of us are used to being with our kids 24/7 with no break, because this situation is not normal and we cannot escape it. The kids are so often climbing the walls, they don’t want to be stuck in either, the walk around the block is now dull, they miss their friends and they play up. It is natural that we are all going to shout and I have done this far too much as I expect a lot of you have done too.
3. Not to stick to strict timings
I knew I would need a timetable of some sorts to keep us all motivated but I also knew that I couldn’t make this strict. Life is strange enough as it is without making homelife tougher by trying to make the kids stick to timings for their activities. I have been easily achieving 3 lessons/activities/crafts in the morning with relaxed breaks thrown in, lunch, then three lessons etc. again in the afternoon. This has given us plenty to focus on, it has kept us all busy without becoming bored and it has meant that Jake has kept up with crucial school work such as writing, maths and reading.
4. Picking my battles
I don’t need to shout more and I certainly don’t need more stress right now so I have learnt to pick my battles. Our world is topsy turvy and for the kids, this is a really confusing and often upsetting time. I have been saying yes more often, allowing the mess to happen and just going with it and if they don’t want to do a certain activity/lesson that’s ok, I either adapt it or save it for another day. Going with the flow really helps all of our mental health.
5. I’m actually enjoying it
I decided to embrace this home learning malarkey and it turns out, I actually really do enjoy it. In two weeks I have seen a gradual improvement in Jake’s reading, in his recognition of words, in his abilities and it’s given me a real sense of achievement as well as purpose. That may sound odd, but when you are only in charge of a toddler all day you can lose that purpose you used to have in life especially if you went from working full-time to becoming a stay at home Mum. Yes, you still have things to focus on and yes you are responsible for these little people but at the end of the day, it’s a different sigh as you sit on the sofa from the one I used to get from a productive day at work. I hope this is making sense? Anyway, what I am seeing in Jake is incredibly satisfying and it has left me feeling very positive as well as very proud of him as well as myself for juggling this brand new lifestyle. And yes, it is ok to feel proud of yourself, so please do. What we are doing each day (with no prior experience and little notice) is really admirable.
I could have probably gone on and listed other things like a glass of wine really helps, it’s ok to cry and scream, kids can be hard work, but you guys already know those!
Keep going, stay strong, stay safe and keep reminding yourself that you are doing a fantastic job!
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