The most challenging part of our new lifestyle has been and continues to be homeschooling. I am no longer terrified of the prospect, now that I recognize that children are naturally curious and inclined to learn without some adult shoving information into them. I see that there are opportunities to learn everyday and there is also no need to learn every minute of the day. I still struggle with my personal need to teach my son discipline and grit through more traditional exercises that are familiar to my catholic school education. Somewhere deep down inside I feel comfort in the familiar even though I know there are better ways to learn. Old habits are hard to break, but I am committed to trying.
We vascillate between more structure and more play/exploration as we have limited resources in NYC during these times of Covid. Our original plans included more exotic locales and experiences, but now we have struggled like everyone else to transform our quarantine days into positive, productive and educational days. We were fortunate that online learning in the spring was better for us than most in the NYC public schools, but the novelty of zoom playdates and classes has long worn off. Perhaps it is easier for girls who tend to have better verbal communication skills, but my son needs to be active and interact with other children and nature through physical play.
A constant struggle is screen time, movies, games and even reading apps. They are the default when he’s bored or tired and sometimes we just give in when we need some time to ourselves. I am trying, unsuccessfully, to teach him to manage his own time. It helps that now he knows how to tell time and that now he understands that “time flies when you’re having fun”. I suppose I should consider those accomplishments and a step in the right direction.
We are also working on teaching him to be more independent. At first I could not leave his side during the day if he was not using a screen. It was impossible to get anything done. He could not get any school work done, eat and could not even play with his toys without me being within arms length and actively involved. Now I can get away with being in the room with frequent checking in. Prior to Covid he was very independent, making this need for attention that much more unexpected. I can only imagine what fears and insecurities he cannot verbalize. I am grateful that we have the luxury of being home with our son in these stressful and uncertain times.