Yesterday, after a perfectly normal morning filled with weeding, laundry, some grading and planning, the sky darkened. I was preparing lunch when rain and wind suddenly lashed the window, startling all of us. Within minutes, a trampoline beat up against our front porch. The power was flickering (and soon ceased for the next twelve hours), and I felt a little like I had been transported to The Wizard of Oz.
Storms like this are rare in Michigan, and when the weather calmed, we went outside to pick up debris and gape at the trampoline that had flown over our neighbor’s fence, across the street, and up against our porch. Another neighbor had a tree struck by lightning and a third had the post on his basketball hoop split in two.
The past few months feel a lot like that storm: while this past school year started off as normal as could be, crisis came suddenly, invoking fear and destruction. In the midst, I kept homeschooling as each new wave of crisis raged.
Despite the disruption that I would happily give up, much of what I learned this year was good and valuable.
- While many parents were trying to help their kids deal with complete disruption, learn new technologies, and find enough devices to keep everyone in their online classes, 85% of our school plan remained the same. We missed debate, gymnastics, book groups, and field trips, but the mainframe did not change, and we finished the academic year strong.
- Difficult times help forge amazing young adults. In addition to the nationwide crisis, a dam failure hit our community with flooding. Watching my kids spring into action to wash bed sheets and towels and prepare their rooms for evacuees made me tear up a little. My teenage son joined his dad with flood cleanup, an opportunity to learn new skills and enlarge his heart.
- We had some great conversations. This time has demanded we discuss real and hard topics with our kids and help them process what they have seen and experienced. As we talked, they learned better how to process their anxiety and deal with their fears. Their confidence inspired me and helped me navigate each new wave with more faith.
- My husband worked from home a lot during this season, and while I continued to be the homeschooling parent, he was often able to join us for morning prayer. When my homeschooling years are over, praying with my kids each morning will be the thing I miss most. I am glad for this short season that he was able to participate in this practice with us.
- Being forced to shelter in place is a lot more fun when you love the ones you are with. We enjoyed playing games, reading, watching old television shows and movies, and even doing storm cleanup. Together.
The storms of this spring have taught me valuable lessons, and now I am welcoming small pleasures—having my hair cut, eating at a restaurant, and going to church again.
Photo credit: First image, iStock. Second image, courtesy of author.