What worked and what didn’t
We have made it to the end, my kids and me.
This time of year always makes me a little sad.
This year, with everything that has happened, I’m not really sure how I feel. Relief that we can take a break from screens and get on with the business of being in the world, yes. But sadness at not saying a proper goodbye to teachers and friends are with me, too.
And the uncertainty about the next school year… That feels nervous and scary.
Three months ago, when we started this learn at home journey, it took some time to get up and running and familiar with the Google platform the schools use. Once we got going, the tech was the easy part.
Staying motivated was more challenging. Feeling like I was good enough to support my kids, wondering if I might be pushing too hard at a time when the world had gotten a bit scarier and my kids might be feeling things they never thought they’d have to contend with, those aspects attacked my motivation and left me wondering what the point of it all was. Those were hard days.
Knowing that the work didn’t count towards marks unless it improved your standing after March 13th was a welcome relief on those days, but it also made us feel like nothing mattered anymore on the good days.
I learned more about myself and my kids than I thought there was to know. Like, there are two kinds of people in this world: those with patience in abundance and those who need to learn to have patience.
That’s the catch, the learn to have patience part. How do you teach that if you haven’t mastered it yourself?
Not too long ago, kids (and adults) had very little in their lives that provided instant gratification and entertainment. Stories came in the form of books and they took a while to read. Hot summer afternoons were often spent figuring out what to do to stay cool and entertained, which involved a lot of downtime just lazing around with nothing to do until you figured it out. Nowadays, hot summer afternoons are spent inside scrolling Netflix or TikTok on digital devices, searching for the next dopamine hit.
My patience wore thin quite a few times over the last few months. Between working and supporting the learning my kids were doing, I was spread thin. I was tired and torn between competing priorities daily, and some days my kids needed more from me and I just didn’t have it to give them.
Early mornings are best. The will power is strong, the mind is sharp. Unfortunately, children who do not do learning in an environment with morning bells and late slips tend to sleep later and work at their own pace. Ironically, this is something that I’ve always wanted for my children. And as far as their learning went over the last few months, allowing that “get up when you wake up naturally and work on something until you master it” was the right thing to do. My stamina and patience may have worn out by mid-morning, but my kids were just gearing up and doing great work.
But the patience still must be practiced. The kids and I both have to stretch that skill. We have to become people who can focus and wait.
What comes next
As we head into this last week of the 2019-2020 school year, we have some reflecting to do. There is a chance that the schools won’t re-open in September, or they will open only in a partial way. We have to wait and see. In the meantime, we have the summer to practice our patience, read books, brush up on our tech skills and get ourselves ready for whatever the future holds.
I hope you have a wonderful summer full of the things that bring you joy and that you are recharged for whatever the world hands us in the next season.