I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
March 20, 2020
My Facebook feed is filled right now with moms and dads resolutely trying to help their kids do all of their schoolwork from home. And I feel for them, because I know how hard it is. This is my fourth year of homeschooling my daughter under much the same conditions — Teachers set her curriculum and give lectures once or twice a week in a classroom environment, but she does most of her work at home. With so much support, my homeschool set-up is as easy as it possibly could be, and my daughter and I both have the personalities to make it work — and you know what?
It’s still hard as hell. Unless you’ve always secretly wanted to be a teacher and you have an incredible amount of patience and time, I really wouldn’t recommend it.
That’s how I feel under normal circumstances and obviously right now, things are anything but normal. We’re all trying to put on a brave face as coronavirus cases in our country multiply, but these are super scary times for every single one of us. Our retirements have dwindled to nothing. Our jobs and businesses might not survive. Our friends, our loved ones, and in some cases, we ourselves are at risk of complications if we happen to catch coronavirus. And our school-aged kids certainly aren’t oblivious to what’s going on — They’re connected online like never before and many of them know the latest dire headlines even before we do. We are all — as individuals, as families, as a nation, as a world — reeling.
And yet apparently, in addition to dealing with this unprecedented worldwide event, parents right now are ALSO expected to make sure our kids receive and understand and complete their online schoolwork each day. And our kids, many of whom are seeing and feeling stress and trauma on a scale never before seen in our lifetimes, are supposed to somehow make the grade. There are so many problems with this scenario that if I tried to list them, I’d be writing all day long. The whole thing is creating additional stress for parents and kids, and additional stress is the LAST thing any of us need right now.
My solution? Call off school until next fall. Let elementary teachers spend the next couple of months changing their curriculum for next year to include what their classroom missed during during the Spring 2020 quarter. Let junior and high school teachers come up with supplemental units covering the missed material that students can review and complete at their own pace, without pressure, before returning to school in the fall. Let all teachers be available to their students right now if they have questions or want additional work. But take away the stress of a 4th quarter grading period. We got through most of the school year and that has to be enough. So what if America’s students are all a couple of months behind on standards next year? I think we, as a nation, can handle it.
Right now, I don’t want to be spending this time trying to understand rate laws and homogenous catalysts so that my stressed out teenager can try to pass Chemistry from the basement apartment of my parents’ home. And I don’t want to be nagging my 13-year-old son to complete his social studies study guide so that he’s ready for an online test tomorrow at 8am. That should not be part of any parent’s job description right now.
My job right now is to keep my kids’ spirits lifted as we absorb the shock of being housebound for who knows how long. My job is to make chocolate chip cookies with them. Play board games with them. Do art projects with them. Go for walks with them. Help them learn more about subjects and hobbies and potential careers they’re interested in. Watch movies with them. Make them feel as good as they possibly can as everything is crumbling around us. School is not helping.
School is getting in the way.
Call it off. Shut it down. Or at least make fourth quarter grades optional on students’ final transcripts.
Our sanity over these next couple of months may well depend on it.