If you’re anything like me, you were a bit excited to get to be your child’s teacher in the spring when the pandemic started. After I dropped my kids off at school, I barely heard anything about what they did inside the walls of the montessori school they attend. Questioning my eight year-old was always unrewarding, and my four year-old didn’t quite understand what was happening enough to relay anything beyond what kind of sandwich he had eaten that day.

Finally I could shotgun my children’s education; as a highschool teacher of fifteen years, surely I would have plenty to offer them, and being their father would augment the experience for everything. Ahhh… spring self, how little you knew.

I remember the first homeschool session, sitting at the kitchen table with two expectant faces staring up at me as I thought, “I have no idea what to do here…” We ended up doing a lesson on trees, I think, and I had them draw some trees and do some research on them, but man, there’s just something about teaching your own kids that’s just fantastically hard. Luckily, my wife was born for the work, or we’d all be SOL.

Compartmentalizing is difficult for one. Going from toothbrushing disciplinarian to entrepreneur to boo-boo comforter to classroom instructor is simply skitzophrenic. In a homeschool environment there are no timeouts to sneak away and crunch on a guilty candy bar while reading the news like there are as a classroom teacher; such insolence in these circumstance would be excoriated by the clientele!

One such day was doable, a week was reasonable, a month was laborious, and the spring… well, let’s just say the class days got a bit shorter in May and I frantically read covid-19 recovery numbers and cried myself to sleep.

As it turns out, those outside resources are critical to kids beyond just the flimsy logic of the good of ‘social immersion.’ “It takes a village,” as they say, “to raise a child.” Finding that village has just become even more challenging.