Schooling In Crisis
By Jessica Morgan
I am a realist. One of the things that means is that I can handle tough news pretty well if it is accurate tough news. I do much better mentally when I have a clear understanding of what is happening…even if what is happening is painful. Considering our current Covid 19 world you would think that would be of benefit to me. But it is not. It is not good for me, because in this situation we find ourselves waking up to everyday, one of the multiple things in short supply (I’m looking at you, toilet paper) is accurate information. This leaves me feeling just as overwhelmed as many others in the world today.
The rate at which our lives have changed in the last three and a half weeks is ridiculously unbelievable. Once families with schedules that threaten to crash over us like tidal waves, now people who are more like the character in a cartoon who was holding something in their hand and the Road Runner raced by to grab it.
We are left standing here in confusion wondering where our life went. We were just holding it, weren’t we?
During all of this, millions of families found out, with little to no warning, that their children would no longer be going to school each day and that mom and dad would now be the chief administrators of their children’s education. Many people on social media jokingly referred to all these families as new homeschool families.
This is not homeschooling people…this is crisis schooling. If you feel overwhelmed by this, then all that means is that you are 100% human because a crisis tends to be very overwhelming.
As a homeschooling mom, I can assure you that what you are experiencing is not normal. It is not what homeschool families do. We most likely would NOT be homeschooling our children if we were under the stress and pressure that this emergency situation has led traditional schooling families to. And, while what your family is finding themselves navigating through is not normal, you are by no means “alone” in the ways it is impacting your family physically, mentally, and emotionally.
My facebook feed, phone conversations, texts and Zoom meetings are full of moms and dads talking about how hard “emergency schooling” is. No one is in their normal routine. There is not a feeling of control…at all. The material is unfamiliar to parents in many situations and the method is unfamiliar to everyone. And amidst all of that is the grief. Everyone finding themselves in this situation has gone through a real loss. Students have lost being with beloved teachers and dear friends. Mom and Dad have lost control over their work schedule and environment. We have lost physical contact with our family and friends..which means many of us have lost access to our support system.
That is all a really big deal, and because of how busy we are dealing with all of the change that has occured in mere weeks, most of us have not had time to even process any of that. For both parents and children, that grief is piling up under the surface adding to the difficulty of each day.
So, if you find that you are exhausted, struggling with your emotions, losing your patience…you are not alone. You are not alone. I was talking with my child who is graduating from high school this year about all of the unexpected loss that has come with social distancing. The thing we marveled over was how almost every senior in the United States of America was in the same boat. For the rest of her life she will have a connecting point, a shared experience that will bond her to the graduating class of 2020. That amazes me.
It is true for all of us. This painful thing has happened to all of us. Yes, there are differences… but so much is shared. We have a bond and even though we are very physically isolated right now, this shared burden will forever be a connecting point for all of us. We are not alone in this.