It has been a week of homeschooling, remote working and social distancing. Our household is a bit unique in that I’ve worked online for years. The concept of being 50% dressed from the waist up for a conference call is normal. I just don’t usually have other people around to witness it. Don’t delve too deep into the visual. I’m all business casual up top while pajamas below. All my boss cares about is that I get the job done.
My work routine is usually sacrificed for school vacations, snow days and lately a pandemic. I have to set boundaries because my family comes into my work space and disrupts things with their vacation. My experience is this — get thee to a routine. It doesn’t have to be a rigid one. Just some way to set some boundaries, whether it’s exercise or reorganizing the kitchen. For example, the world may come to a grinding halt, but the amount of glassware used by a family of four in a day apparently does not. So a remedy is introduced called dish washing. What?
I do understand that online learning is not the same as homeschooling. Thank goodness. I’ve always used homeschooling as a threat. As in, if my children didn’t shape up, then they could spend every day with me. Oh, the humanity. (Don’t get me wrong. I admire all people who homeschool their children. I just admire my children more when they are being taught by someone else.)
There may come a time when you want to break up with online learning or remote working. Perhaps you’ve just never really been that into it from the beginning. That is when a routine helps.
It’s fine for now because you’re starting something new. It’s all bright and shiny, and you only see the possibilities. You get all sorts of crafty and make your own bread. (I actually make my own bread, so back off.) The children take turns making dinner while the other cleans up. Chores are actually completed, and you end up yelling good night to each other like an episode of “The Waltons.” Then the online learning, homeschooling, remote working starts to bother you. Just little things like being in front of a computer or that children are home when there are clearly better people equipped to take them on. I realize I’m projecting.
I’ve been through a few breakups, and I can see my family’s future won’t willing always include online work. “It’s not you; it’s them,” I’d say to Google Meetup. They will get everything done. They will smile through it, but their heart isn’t going to be in it. It will be tolerated, but not once did online learning ever meet them face to face. It just expects them to be available. They check in. They text, but they soon will regret that they took advantage of what they had before — a classroom full of dedicated teachers and friends or an interactive office full of co-workers. Until that time comes when you get back together with the school, team sports, teachers, jobs, and offices — I urge you to develop some sort of routine.
So enjoy the homeschooling honeymoon stage, and be patient with circumstances out of your control. When you reach a point that you want to give up and break up with your remote office or online platform, please talk it out with someone because there is a lot of support available. There are going to be more life lessons to learn as we continue through this unknown. We are in this together. I feel that if I get any more life lessons, I’m going to start my own school. But of course, it would have to be online.