Whether you’re a veteran homeschooler or a “this-wasn’t-even-on-the-radar-in-2019” homeschooler, pandemic schooling is new and different. It’s hard to know how we should feel about it. Excited at the new possibilities? Resentful that everything is different? Somewhere in the middle?

Sometimes it makes me feel better to have “permission” to feel however I feel. Maybe it will help you too. I’ve written up a few permission slips for you, according to what you need.

You have permission to:

Feel as if this is an unusually difficult time. While this pandemic has upset everyone’s lives, it hits some families much harder than it does others. Whether it’s finances, mental health, personality conflicts, or special needs—you may very well be scaling a mountain while others are climbing hills. If it feels like it’s hard, that’s probably because it is.

Feel as if this isn’t really so bad. I mean, some people like staying at home. You don’t like a crowded schedule, and the kids have a lot of online friends. That doesn’t mean that every day is a breeze; you’ll have your challenges, and this pandemic still causes you stress. But “being at home” just fits well with how you like to live life, and you can enjoy that.

Dread pandemic schooling. You’re not sure how to do it, but you are sure that there’s going to be conflict and adjustment and confusion—which is hardly a fun year to look forward to. It will probably go a lot better than you fear, but that doesn’t change how you feel right now.

Anticipate pandemic schooling. You really think this is going to be good. You like the slower pace, and your kids don’t mind a more relaxed, comfortable atmosphere for school. It’s been nice to have extra time together. You’re looking forward to what the year brings.

Have a really bad day. Even longtime homeschoolers have disaster days, when the kids are frustrated or defiant, there’s stress and conflict with other adults in your life, and the house is a mess. These days happen. If these days stretch into several days and then weeks, you should turn to your support network and figure out what changes would alleviate some pressure. But a disaster day here and there? Perfectly normal. Write it off as a loss and start anew the next day.

Have a really good day. It’s fashionable to cast every day as a grind, requiring wine and a beach vacation to get through. Yet some days are really good. Your child was excited about learning, or you all laughed until you cried, or school got finished up really quick and you all went to the park for the afternoon. You have permission to talk about and enjoy these days thoroughly.

Hope you just get through. Your child is confused or disappointed about how the new school year will go, and you never expected to have to play teacher. The whole prospect looks daunting when you can’t even find a pencil right now. Your entire goal is to reach end of the school year with reasonable academic progress and your relationship with your family intact.

Expect great results. You know your child will benefit from the personalized instruction and the familiar surroundings of home. You’re optimistic about the plan you’ve made, and you’re looking forward to spending time with your family and building new bonds with them. Bring on the new school year! This is going to be great!

The truth is, we’ll all probably feel every one of these at one point or another. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s not always going to be hard. We’ll win some and lose some. Either way and through it all . . . you have permission to feel however you feel.

Now let’s jump in and get this pandemic school thing done. 

—Sara  

Photo credit: iStock