Should I Send my Kids Back to School?

Did you ever imagine you’d find yourself contemplating home schooling your kiddos? With only 1 – 2% of North American children home schooled in the BeforeTimes, this option may not have been high on your priority list.

And here we are. 2020 and in the midst of a pandemic. “Do I send my child back to school?” has become the most pressing decision of the summer.

Confusion, overwhelm, outright fear

What arises in you when you face into this question with your family?

And do you have a process for discerning a way forward when emotions are high, information is confusing and even conflicting, and all you really wish for is a set routine? Something that feels normal. Familiar. Do you find that your thoughts run away with the what-if-s and how-to-s and I-can't-even-s of the thing?

You're not alone

You've read all of the information. You understand your options clearly. What now? Are you connecting with other parents? Are your children old enough to participate in this conversation? What is your own gut telling you (she probably knows what you need!)?

Some helps for making the choice

If you need some internal back-up from your own best teacher -- your self -- this may help:

  • Spend a day holding only the "Yes, I'm going to send my child back to school," in your mind. Go about the day as if that is your decision. Notice: what happens in you when you stay with that answer. Do the same for the "No way! My kid is doing school at home." Notice, notice, notice. What does this choice feel like?
  • Take a day off from social media. Give your heart and mind permission to step back from the steady stream of importantinformation! and advice. Spend this one day listening only to your own inner voice, attending to your own interior life.
  • Ask your Self, "What do I need right now?" In a quiet moment, maybe with your hand resting on your heart, ask, "What does my son/daughter need?"

Your kiddo is going to be ok

Most importantly, remind yourself often that a year of disrupted schooling is not going to make or break your child's education.

I recall a time in the parenting and schooling of my own three sons where I was gripped by anxiety. Overwhelm. Uncertainty for the future. It was an important time of reflection: I was able to ask myself the question,

What really matters in my sons' education? What will matter in one year? 5 years? In their adulthood? I was surprised to notice that the thing that surfaced as "most important" was not a university degree. Rather, I wondered if I was doing all I could to nurture boys into men who would be capable, helpful, content, hard workers, good humans. The kind of men who could navigate something as crazily disruptive as a global pandemic.

Schooling was disrupted in our lives for a bit back then. They're all in their twenties, now, and (having achieved different levels of school along the way...via many non-traditional and traditional paths) they're solid humans. Capable. Helpful and hard working and funny. The kind of men who handle global pandemics with presence of mind.

No right way - wrong way

What if there's no wrong way to educate your children during the pandemic? Could it be that the answer to, "Should I send my kids back to school?" is...go for it! Or, don't. Whatever you decide, don't make yourself wrong. You're doing the best you can and they're going to be just fine.

pick n pull

Peaceful Parenting

Parenting in an a new normal

What has this past month been like for you? If you're the parent of school-aged children you may be feeling a lot of pressure these days. Some of you are working from home while hands-on parenting. Home schooling used to be the practice of a minority (myself included), and is now the norm. If you have a child with special needs or learning challenges, you may have added complications.

Are you finding support in all of that? There are resources available to you. Do seek them out. This is a time for asking for what we need, and leaning into available resources.

Kim Golding on peaceful parenting

My colleague forwarded this on to me just yesterday. It's from Kim S. Golding, 2015, with an added acknowledgement of Clover Childcare, Norfolk.

This gentle 7-step guide may be a helpful resource for all of us as parents? First, it offers a reminder for us to take a minute to check in with our self when facing into a parenting conundrum. "Calm begets calm; peace begets peace." So say parenting specialists. That calm begins with us as parents. Take a look at this:

That trusty oxygen mask

The well-worn metaphor of the oxygen mask on the airplane applies here: Mom? Dad? Take your own deep breaths first. Then tend to your kiddo.

One of my practice instructors has patiently reminded me, "When we change the dialogue with which we speak to our self, we'll change the way we speak to others. As we transform inwardly, we'll change outwardly." What does she mean by that? Be nice!

This is the time to be "excessively gentle" (John O'Donohue) with ourselves. And as we turn compassion inward, we'll find ourselves more able to be patient and understanding outwardly.

May peaceful parenting bring about peaceful kiddos in a decidedly un-peaceful time in history. You've got this! And where you need back-up? Reach out. You are not alone.

pick n pull