The hardest part of all of this is all of this, but also, if you have kids who you are trying to homeschool through a pandemic while also battling crippling anxiety and existential fears of the unknown, well, it probably hasn’t been a great few weeks for you. Last night, we found out that our school system will be closed for the remainder of the school year. My kids took it hard. If you are 8 or 12 years old, it’s hard not to wonder why the world seems to be punishing you specifically.
I’ve seen a number of approaches to remote learning from parents on social media. Some are embracing it, because it provides purpose. Some are like, f**k it, we cannot possibly do this on top of everything else. Some parents of younger kids are canceling their remote-learning school year, as well. I understand that approach, too.
I find it both fascinating and frustrating — second-grade math is so much more complicated, but also more rewarding! — but with the kids taking today off for Passover, I am also finding that I actually do miss it a little. It’s not just a bunch of worksheets that I barely pay attention to before throwing them into the recycling bin; it’s a bunch of worksheets the completion of which I helped to facilitate! They’re doing opinion writing now. My second-grade daughters are basically writing reviews of Ramona and Onward. It’s kind of fun when I’m not pulling out my hair.
Ultimately, it’s maddening, and it’s frustrating, and sometimes I get testy, but I think if we make it through this that we’ll look back on it like family vacations: All the difficult and frustrating parts will melt away and we’ll just remember the good parts, like the pictures of vacations we post to Facebook. But it has also given so many of us an even better appreciation for teachers, who are teaching our kids remotely while taking care of their own kids at home, which is superhuman. My daughters get to Zoom with their classes and their teachers every afternoon, and it’s remarkable how much they look forward to that half an hour. The girls take their devices into separate rooms and treat that time with their teachers and friends as “their time.”
Anyway, here’s Jim Gaffigan talking about what it’s like homeschooling his 5 kids in a NYC apartment. Gaffigan, of course, takes the difficult parts and turns it into comedy. “If there’s one takeaway, it should be to encourage people not to have children. And if you have them, give them away. Now.” Amen.
Header Image Source: NBC