We parents still teach our schoolchildren at home 3 to 4 days a week, work at the same time, take care of food, house, and life. That gnaws at the physique, but above all at the psyche.
For us, it is done thanks to the holiday on Thursday and a flexible holiday, week eight of homeschooling – at least here in the Rhineland. And even though we have already gotten in well here at home and there are no longer any discussions from the children about the completion of their weekly tasks, the mere thought that we have our children at home most of the time until the summer holidays will teach, racing heart and sweat of fear with me. Coupled with a huge portion of frustration.
For weeks now, like all other parents in the US, we have been doing not only our own job, but also that of the teacher – and that of the cook, the afternoon care, the cleaning lady, and the babysitter.
Of course, it is our children and of course, we are responsible for them, but we are only human. And everyone has a stress limit. There is a beautiful saying, “It takes an entire village to raise a child”. Our villages have broken away and burned-out parents are left behind, who are afraid that their child will lose their (school) connection.
So we pull ourselves together every day and try to teach our children. Repeating old learning materials and exploring new ones together. But we are not teachers. We lack pedagogical approaches, learning concepts, and instructions. And there is this pressure. Other parents can do it too. So I have to, we have to do it too. In addition to your own job, the household, and everything else.
Mental health before doing homework
And so you force yourself to do it. You push the children and yourself. Work on what you couldn’t do in the morning and work on your own tasks until late in the evening. And with every additional day and evening on which you do it the same way, you lose yourself a bit.
Because there is no time for yourself and your partner, let alone your family. At some point you leave work and fall into bed exhausted, only to continue the same way the next day.
This is frustrating and it is particularly nerve-wracking. One becomes increasingly irritable and little things are enough to be loud. Or to completely lose your nerve and sit crying on the PC or sitting over the children’s homework.
Not only is this not good for our own psyche, but it also disturbs our children. Not with being sad or stressed. But with our constantly irritated mood. To be able to explode out of nowhere at any moment.
Only one thing helps less stress. But how should that work in the current situation? Only with drawbacks. So if there are important appointments in the job, a call or a submission deadline, then leave the homework and everything else. Even if that means that your child didn’t work as far as their classmates. Even if that means admitting not to do it like everyone else. And even if that means only having delivery services on the speed dial button.
Our (mental) health should be worth a lot more to us than the ‘competition’ with other parents. Each of us has our own limits, some of them move further, others not. Under no circumstances should we let others determine where our exposure limit is.
Use the help offered or ask for it
The good thing is that most teachers have a lot of understanding for parents in the current situation. If you can no longer manage to combine school assignments and your own work, contact the class teacher of your child. Ask for more time for tips to bring your child closer to the learning material or other help.
Explicitly ask the school management if you may also have a place in emergency care. Homeschooling should not cause any disadvantages to any child. This is the main reason why there is a regular duty to be present at school. Every child should have the same opportunities to learn, regardless of their background or social environment. This also applies now in times of crisis.