Christmas is going to look different for a lot of people this year. Some families may not be able to travel to see loved ones as they have in the past. Some families may not be able to take part in much-loved traditions such as attending church Christmas programs, caroling at nursing homes, or enjoying Christmas parties with friends. And, because of job losses or other financial hardships, some families may not be able to exchange gifts like they have in the past. Many families are needing to plan for a much more minimal Christmas season.
I have four daughters, and they are all very different. They are individuals who have different interests, different personalities, different strengths, and different weaknesses. And I have found that I can’t homeschool them all in the same way.
One of the great strengths of homeschooling is the ability to tailor instruction to your individual child. But in order to do that well, you have to learn some specific things about your child. Here are a few to start off with.
Some days, I’m not sure that I can do this homeschooling thing. Some days, I want to quit.
Homeschooling is really, really hard. It might not look hard when you are browsing curriculum catalogs or listening to a veteran homeschool mom on a podcast. But just about any homeschool mom has had the moment—the moment when the task of homeschooling is so overwhelming that she wants to quit entirely. I’ve had that moment. I’ve had many (hundreds?) of those moments. But before you give up homeschooling, consider the following.
When I started homeschooling four years ago, I wasn’t homeschooling multiple children. I had one student and a toddler in tow. It wasn’t hard to get through our homeschool day. My biggest stresses usually came from the toddler when she was grumpy or getting into things. Since then, I have added two more students (and another toddler), and now things are definitely a little more challenging. Not only am I trying to keep the toddler out of trouble, but I am also trying to teach and/or manage over 20 homeschool courses. Next year I will add another student, and my head is already spinning.
I am always, yet never alone. That’s my life as a homeschool mom in this strange and troubling COVID-19 world. When my governor closed all essential businesses back in the middle of March, my world came to a screeching halt. No more in-person music lessons. No more dropping off my kids at my local gym’s childcare program so I could get my 30 minutes of exercise. We don’t have anymore church fellowships or ministry obligations or homeschool group get-togethers. My husband continued to go to work everyday just as he had before the pandemic, but I suddenly found myself basically confined to my home all day, every day. I was confronted with a deep homeschool loneliness.