We've all seen the funny memes and posts of frantic parents thrust completely and unexpectedly into the world of school at home. Let me give you a word of encouragement in case this new normal is becoming the undoing of your family.
1. School at home is not home education. When we decided to home educate our children, I poured over books, learned about curriculum, sought out forums, and PRAYED. We did not take the decision lightly and we felt called to it. That is COMPLETELY different than what we've all been thrown into right now. No time to prepare. New technologies to learn. A million emails coming from the schools. Not to mention the stress and fear overlaying this whole ordeal. Give yourself grace even if it takes you the entire duration of this pandemic to figure it out. There's nothing easy about parents and children ALL trying to work from home. If things don't go beautifully, don't be too surprised.
2. Remember that children who have been in traditional school for any amount of time are somewhat indoctrinated to believe that you—their parents—don't know anything. It may not be overt, but it's there. I remember before my own children were school age, a middle schooler at our first church in Fargo asked me to help her with her math. She hesitated right after the question and said, "Wait, are you a mom?" After answering, "yes," she said, "Never mind. My teacher said parents don't understand the way we do math now." Give yourself grace that in some ways you've been set up to fail.
3. Don't let a few math problems ruin your day (or your relationship with your kids!) It's math. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter. I highly doubt how well these next weeks go will affect your child's future college dreams. Give yourself grace to give up for a day or two if you need to.
My main take away from ten years of home educating my kids is that the biggest benefit is the relationships developed, the family culture created, and the joy of learning instilled for life. It definitely has very little to do with the level of academic success, even though that usually follows.
So give yourself grace. Create some memories. And remember: this too shall pass.