Because things ARE different now ~
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins
Last spring, just as we were wrapping up our learning activities for the year, one of my kids had an orthodontist appointment. “Where do you go to school?” the receptionist asked him, just making conversation.
“Oh, I’m homeschooled,” he replied.
The receptionist gave me a big smile and said, “So this last year has been normal for you! No change at all!”
I stood there and blinked. Because the homeschooling part was the same as usual, that is true. But no change at all?
No change except… everything that wasn’t school was different?!
All kinds of things were different—the library was closed, all our usual routines about leaving the house had to change, my husband started working from home full-time. Our college kiddo was doing virtual school from home. Our high school senior was applying to colleges, having no idea if any of the schools would even be open in the fall.
It was a YEAR, even for those of us who already homeschooled. And things are different now, too.
It’s fall again, our oldest two kids have gone away to college. (Those schools DID reopen, as it turns out.) Our younger four are settling into fall routines. We’re figuring out how things work when one-third of our kids live somewhere else. How much dinner do you cook for four kids instead of six?
And at the same time, we don’t know for sure what this year will look like. Will the universities decide to switch back to virtual classes? Will we parents keep working from home? Will our kids have more activity choices or fewer? Who knows.
We have the usual questions, too: Will everyone like their math activities this year? How fast are the kids going to read through their book lists? Are all the good markers about to run out of ink?
I like questions with answers, and these have none.
I like to know what’s going to happen. I like to have a plan, I like to have a backup plan, and then I like to have a contingency plan for my backup plan.
I like to have a mental list of everything that might happen, because if I know what might happen, maybe I can control it?
Except, of course, that I can’t. I can’t control what’s going to happen any more than I can control the weather.
I don’t know what might happen. I don’t have all the answers.
But this is what I do know. This is what I’m telling myself right now:
You don’t need to have all the answers. Trust yourself to keep moving forward.
You have done hard things before, and you can do this, too.
You can handle this, whether “this” means staying informed and engaged, or making difficult choices, or explaining that the square of a hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the sides. (I don’t know why it is, it just is.)
You can do this. And you can let go of some of the anxiety about what might happen, because you can trust yourself to respond to whatever does happen.
That’s the plan for this year. Not trying to pretend everything is back to “normal,” and not needing to predict or control how things go, either—just trusting that we’ll handle whatever happens, when it happens.
We can do this. That’s what I know. We’ll figure the rest out as we go.
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