The month is almost over, and I’ve managed to write about 4,000 words of poetry! Today’s poem came from my frustration about people too offhandedly saying they are homeschooling.
I was homeschooled for eight years of my education, and it has really shaped me. Now, in an unprecedented time where most students are participating in remote learning, I’ve seen so many frustrated parents online. It’s understandable, and I have a great respect for the teachers and parents working to put together something new.
When parents and news headlines mention “homeschooling” though, I just hope you’ll remember that people have been homeschooling for a long time, and it and remote learning are not the same.
How to Homeschool
a COVID-19 poem by Lauren Hallstrom
- set up a spot, maybe in your kitchen or basement,
where you can tell yourself it’s time to work. build a classroom,
if you want to. there is a fuzzy blanket here,
there is a bowl of M&Ms and Goldfish. a fireplace that you have to keep
scooting a little farther from as your math lesson progresses.
- go to one of those educational stores for teachers
and play with the kinetic sand
and piece together several different curricula for each subject
because you like different things about each one.
- go home and buy everything online for cheaper.
- they have a routine now. they have their math lessons and essays
and the younger ones are meeting to learn the difference between
affect and effect
and now everyone is coming together to read about the Nazca Lines.
- ask them what they want to learn too, and
let that surprise you. make a model greenhouse, write a musical,
create a circuit board, learn tennis, learn how to build a bridge
that will hold and not break.
- they are not alone. they are joining advisory boards and fencing schools
and learning how to meet people
in more places than one.
- whisper to yourself what you are doing, because
who is the world to judge, and sometimes you don’t let it sink in.
you are working two full-time jobs—
you have no need for parent-teacher
conferences because you are both. you are inspiring them
to love learning that happens anywhere.
you are grading fairly, and since the world needs proof,
here are the biannual standardized test results.
- remote learning is not the same as homeschooling.
there are parents setting their kids down in front of computers
with pre-planned lessons
because they had to,
and no one was prepared for this.
they are saying this is hard,
and that’s because it is,
but they don’t know the half of it.
their jokes about playing on the trampoline
and calling it P.E. are only hurting everybody.
- you have to realize that you don’t need
to know everything. they will always be changing math.
the English language delights in not following rules.
you are imperfect, and you are learning
that teachers are still students
of the world.
you don’t know the answer,
but you know how to find it.
- love the public school teachers
and the online tutors
and the tired parents,
because we all have the same goal
here, and not all classrooms contain
the usual four corners.