My Home Parenting Education!
I have spent the last 25 days homeschooling my children. Or were they schooling me?
I don't mean learning about Lewis and Clark or reviewing 7th-grade statistics. I'm talking about learning my role as their father and their most revered supporter. It turns out that I am forever the student.
As COVID-19 began to ravage through the Pacific Northwest and then began to flare up in the New York Metro Area, rumors of school closures and remote learning began to take over dinner conversations. It seemed like every day there were new developments, emails, and questions about whether or not we would turn to this medium and then quickly as to how we would do it and before we knew it, when? That answer was the week of St. Patrick's day with my children's school districts turning to remote classes within the following 14 days.
Surprisingly, all of the kids were quite prepared for the transition. Their classes having some sort of online component which was simply augmented. Trust me there were certainly bumps and bruises during the initial transition but as a digital native generation, they simply figured it out.
I quickly found myself learning about Lewis and Clark, Virus and Bacteria Cells, 7th Grade Statistics and Probabilities, and writing an essay on Youth in Sports. I saw how my 7th grader mastered no less than a dozen applications to complete various assignments and my high school junior make a gym for PE virtually from our sitting room, much to the chagrin of my wife. But most of all I've had a great lesson in being a parent.
You see, ever the student, my wife and I discuss the day's events every evening, usually over a bottle of wine. And as the days passed and the challenges of online learning became less pronounced we started talking about our own lessons. How we handled the transition ourselves and how we were coping with the change in our role. No more was the focal point of our existence as breadwinners who could afford to provide a comfortable life for our children. Instead, we were fortunate to afford time with them to provide the attention they craved and desperately needed.
There is still a lot of learning and assignments and deadlines. Needless to say, we still expect them to get good grades and complete their work on time. There is also a lot of time just listening to them. Sometimes on interesting things like the American response to the virus and sometimes on what my thoughts are on Carole Baskin.
Nevertheless, true learning is being able to look back at the day and simply answer whether I did a good job as a parent. Did I champion their needs? Did I spread my attention evenly? Did I nurture their childhood? I'm less worried about whether or not the dishes are done or the rooms are clean or even if they've had a bit too much screen time. There will be plenty of time for that.