In March, the children went on what would become the longest Spring Break in the history of Spring Break. Expecting them to return to school at the very end of March, when I should have also returned to work from maternity leave, school was, instead, transitioned to Zoom meetings and Google Classroom assignments. I, of course, left work behind to stay with them because daycare costs would have been astronomical.
When the whole thing began, I thought it would be simple. I expected to have my kids sitting at the table each day, quiet and focused on their work. We planned out a schedule that included lunch and time for science experiments and art. In my own naive mind, it would be simple, easy. Flash forward a few weeks and it became clear that it wasn’t anything like I had imagined.
I admire teachers. I applaud them. They should be paid far more than they are, even if just for having to teach my own children. What should have been focused, quiet moments was more like being in the audience at a wrestling match. My children, as wonderful as they are, became exceedingly bored with each other and suddenly every minor offense became a great injustice worthy of a shouting match and the occasional knock-down, drag-out fight.
We were two months in, approaching the close of the school year, and I was already excited for the following school year when they would return to traditional school.
That day still hasn’t come. Towards the middle of May, my son had a seizure. A full-blown, on-the-floor, tonic-clonic seizure. I was cutting his hair when it happened. Never in my life have I ever been so terrified. I thought it was my fault. But then, two days later, he had another one while he was sitting down in the living room. Obviously, this one had nothing to do with me.
Two months and two appointments later, he was diagnosed with Epilepsy and given a host of other appointments and new medications. In addition, his pediatrician and neurologist recommended he participate in distance learning instead of returning to traditional school. Because of the circumstances, I have continued to stay home and decided to do virtual learning with my daughters as well.
Our days are much the same as they were back in April. We have a schedule, but they spend much of the day arguing over simple things. One of them sat where someone else wanted to sit. One of them unplugged the other’s Chromebook overnight, so it isn’t fully charged. The list goes on.
Homeschool isn’t at all what I imagined when I heard others talk about it in the past. It is being a teacher, a principal, a hall monitor, a mediator. It is being all of those things in addition to everything that we already are as parents. And, some days more than others, it’s rough. I commend teachers everywhere for the work they put in shaping our children into productive members of society.
In adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom, I’ve looked for things to fill my free time while kids are studying and the baby is asleep.
With the rising cost of food, I decided to take up gardening. It is much too late in the season to grow anything substantial, but I do have some things successfully growing.
In the kitchen, I have celery, which I started from the ends of some celery that I used for dinner. Outside, I have an herb garden. I started it around mid-August, but it is doing really well. It is filled with things like Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Lemon Balm, Basil, Dill, Chives, and Chamomile.
When I started, I didn’t expect to have so much fun. The result was me falling in love with plants. Since then, I have started a delightful collection of everything from herbs to houseplants. I purchased several plants this week, some of which will arrive tomorrow. Philodendrons of assorted varieties, umbrella trees, Monsteras, Wandering Jews, mums, and spider plants; there are so many coming within the next week.
Homeschool isn’t all bad. I have more time with my children and I have found a deep love for gardening.