Cheryl Hughes: Home Schooled
This week on NPR, there were two guests questioning how far behind our children were going to be academically because of the gaps in their education due to the pandemic. I know they have a valid point. There are gaps, there will be more gaps and yes, that concerns me; however, there are other things our children have learned they wouldn’t have learned if they hadn’t gone through the pandemic. Whether we signed on for the job or not, most of our kids were home schooled while the brick-and-mortar versions were closed down. They were taught by immediate family and extended family and friends of the family, and their classrooms weren’t just online computers.
Children learned the importance of not spreading disease to others, especially the elderly and the vulnerable. They have learned how valuable their friends are and how lonely life is without them. Their world view has expanded, and they understand they aren’t the only ones suffering, their country isn’t the only country suffering. They have learned their moms and dads are smarter than they thought they were—their moms and dads have learned this too. Most importantly, they have learned that it’s okay to ask for help. They have learned this lesson by watching their parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles pull together for them.
During the extra time I’ve had with my granddaughter, Sabria, I’ve taught her how to get the most nectar from a honeysuckle flower and how to identify a maypop vine by its Passionflower. She taught me how to make a replica of a beehive, using bubble wrap and candle wax. We’ve made coconut pie and cherry pie and blueberry pancakes. Garey has taught her how to ride a 4-wheeler, and how to add gas to it and the importance of checking the oil.
She and her mom have made crafts together and painted and enjoyed one another’s company. She’s watched her mom work (she works from home) and stress, but still keep it together. She’s watched her mom stop working long enough to answer a question or contact her online teacher if she herself was unable to help her daughter.
Our children have struggled, but more importantly, they have watched us struggle, and they have seen how we handle pressure. Depending on how we perform, it will be either a positive or a negative experience. The hardship isn’t the hardship. The hardship is not handling the hardship with grace. The hardship is making matters worse, blaming others, shirking your responsibility, whining about how hard things are.
When Sabria was a little girl, she got really upset about something (I can’t remember what it was), and she started crying uncontrollably.
I said, “Sabria, it’s not the end of the world.”
And she said, “Yes it is, Gee! It’s the end of the world!”
At that time, I guess it was. She has grown since then. She has matured. She has learned from her village to “keep her head when everybody around her is losing theirs and blaming it on her” (to loosely quote Rudyard Kipling). She, like countless other children during this pandemic, has been home schooled.