That Day We All Became Homeschooling Parents

Today’s post contains musings, thoughts, and insights into what has become our new normal for the foreseeable future. This is NOT a list of “How to’s” for surviving the Coronavirus. It’s meant to make you laugh, or at a minimum chuckle, and at some points to make you think, at least at a minimum. It is not something that will ever get picked up by TGC, Acts 29, BlogHer, or any other website. It is a bunch of random thoughts after 15 days of being inside. So for your reading pleasure, I give you a list of musings, thoughts, and insights…

1. I wonder if all the homeschooling folks out there have chuckled a little bit as all the parents in the whole world (an exaggeration, I know, but it’s close to accurate) who said they would/could never homeschool their kids have become homeschooling parents over night. We should all have shirts that say “Never Say Never!”

2. Trying to not go Ape Crazy on the kids/spouse. This is a hard one at times. Perhaps for you it is trying to help your kids with math but you have zero idea what Common Core math is so you teach them to carry the 1 because that MAKES SENSE. Things that make me want to acutally go Ape Crazy are 1. Schoolwork that won’t upload or download 2. I cannot understand Lil’ Paul’s homework (Italian) 3. Google translate is zero help with before mentioned Italian homework. 4. Kids constantly fighting (there are times I feel more like a WWE referee than a mom, but a referee that gets taken down in the middle of the fight). There are more, but nobody needs to know everything about me and my inner Ape. What can one do to keep the Ape inside and calm the angry beast down? Well, my inner Ape responds well to Paul giving me a “your inner Ape is rearing and you need to get it back in its cage” look; music by Shane and Shane (I know they’ve been around forever but with harmonies that are crazy (not Ape Crazy) good and actual biblical truth in their songs most of their older music is better than other people’s new music); praying; working out; reading my Bible consistently and not just when I’m having a bad day; finding a quiet spot for a few minutes; remembering God lovingly responds to me in grace and the inner Ape does NOT respond gracefully – it’s sin-filled ugliness and needs to go away. If the inner beast then is a manifestation of my sin, the goal isn’t to pacify the Ape and keep it at bay by throwing it a banana every once in a while, but for the Ape to cease to exist. This is only possible by looking more and more like Jesus every day (sanctification) so that eventually there is not a beast that needs to be pacified. This is one reason praying and reading the bible consistently is essential. The Ape needs to die.

3. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the freebies people are posting. It is amazingly awesome all the things schooling websites, zoos, museums, Mo Willems, and a host of other people/organizations are offering for kids and adults alike right now. But I’ll be honest, it has also made my head swirl. We just pick a couple and stick with them until we get bored. The ones we most enjoy at the moment are artforkids.com and Mo Willems, and I now wonder why it took me so long to be able to draw a few shapes, connected with some lines, add some witty dialogue and boom! Kids book done. Oh, that’s right, the creative side of my brain doesn’t really know how to draw without a how-do guide.

4. Make a schedule. This is so helpful, and I’m not sure why it was Day 13 before I thought to do it. Don’t be like me. A schedule is something we can control…but not really. It gives us the illusion of control. Sure, we can make a color-coded schedule and hang it on the fridge for all to see but everybody actually sticking to it (including its maker) is another thing, right? See, you might be in control of making that fancy rainbow colored schedule and perhaps even a bit in keeping to it but you can’t control all aspects of it. Just like we aren’t really in control OF ANYTHING. It’s an illusion, which is the first lesson the Coronavirus has taught us, right? But God being in control is not an illusion. The God/man who calmed the waves and rain and wind … he doesn’t need things like rainbow colored schedules. And that, in a time of chaos and confusion, gives peace and calmness. But go ahead and make the schedule because it helps you and your household stay sane and know what the day should look like even if the day doesn’t stick to all the colors of the rainbow colored schedule.

5. Call, text, email people. I’ll be honest, at the beginning of all this I thought it’d be hard but not so bad that I would find myself crying in the kitchen in the afternoons, frantically trying to get some Shane and Shane turned on. It’s the isolation from people that’s the hardest, even though I am constantly surrounded by three people. Constantly. Surrounded. By. People. I call or text an insane amount of people every day…or so it feels. We are beginning to crave interaction with other people and phone calls and texting and zooming just don’t feel the void quite as well as face-to-face interaction. God did not create us to be islands. We were created for relationship, foremost with Him, and then one another. There’s a reason it was not good for Adam to be alone. As hard as it is for me, I am reminded that I have my family, who I like as well as love the majority of the day. But we have teammates and friends who are single. As hard as the isolation is for us, it’s harder for them. So call, text, email, zoom, skype, FaceTime…do all the things to help others feel connected and not alone.

6. Endless Amounts of Time With Kids/Spouse. At the beginning of all the lockdowns, this sounded awesome. Finally, you can do all the things that you’ve wanted to do together. Then reality hits. Your boss expects you to maintain normal work hours while simultaneously homeschooling/refereeing your kids/entertaining your kids/making three meals a day/cleaning up after the three meals a day. You are busier than you thought you’d be. But, take time for the family. Or if you are single, take time for yourself. Play, create, be silly, go on an in-house date, laugh, read together. Do do the things you always wanted to do, but let’s go easy on ourselves. Let’s pick one thing and actually do that one thing. Then another and another. Let’s stay off social media and Pinterest that can make us feel less than because we aren’t doing all the things that others are doing. We have time, yes, but let’s make sure we are purposeful with our time.

7. Getting ready for the day is now optional. Where do I even begin with this one? Showering every day? Nope. I count it a win if my teeth get brushed and I can remember to put on deodorant. I repeatedly find that I wake up in the same clothes I had on the day before and quite possibly the day before that. My husband is thrilled with this new development in my hygiene. Kids want a pajama day? Why not? yesterday we did school as Star Wars characters, which was actually pretty awesome and highly recommended. I don’t recommend the lack of hygiene that I am currently displaying. On the days when I have actually put on something other than workout clothes or jogging pants or pjs I feel so much better. Even if I know I’m only going to see grocery store workers or the other three people in my house, putting real clothes on helps the psyche so much. Even if you are business up top and pjs on the bottom for a business call or church or just talking to your momma, make the effort. In other words, don’t be like me.

8. Dance. Have a good ole dance party. Why not? Turn on some Prince and dance likes it’s 1999. Let your hair down and your inner Justin Timberlake or Shakira out for a bit. It’ll make you feel tons better because there is no way you can get your groove on to your favorite jam and not feel better. Better yet, choreograph a dance, send it to your closest friends (those that WON’T post it to social media without your consent) and challenge them to a dance off. I tried to get Paul to learn the “I Had the Time of My Life” dance from Dirty Dancing but he wasn’t so keen on the idea, even after I proved to him that I already know about half of it from memory.

That’s it. That’s my huge, long list of thoughts, musings and insights. Perhaps my writing will become more regular now that I have all this free time on my hands…oh, wait, I forgot for a moment that I am now homeschooling two children so never mind. I don’t have time to write and you, being a homeschooling parent now as well, don’t have time to read it.

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