I taught for 10 years. Homeschooling is hard.

People have mentioned over these last several weeks that homeschooling must be easy for me because I was a teacher. In fact, it has been the opposite. Teachers are really good at putting pressure on themselves to do it right. Not just right but REALLY right. When learning is at stake only the best will do. We can’t help but try to maximize the potential of every lesson while meeting the most objectives as possible. We expect to assess mastery by reviewing our students’ meticulous work. If this isn’t happening, then we must not be doing it right. Teachers expect a lot of their students, but they expect the most from themselves. This doesn’t always work when trying to teach your own children in the middle of a global pandemic. 

One of my most challenging students right now is an adorable 4 year old boy. He has blonde hair, blue eyes, and loves trucks more than life itself. He’s not especially interested in the 15-20 minute multi-objective activity I plan for us each day. In fact, most days I get a very sweet “no thank you Mommy” as he runs off to find a sword or something. Assessing him at the end of the term is going to be difficult. Or maybe it’s not.

Because what’s not in my lesson plans are some of the most worthwhile activities he does each day. Activities such as:

Counting all of his trucks

Baking bread

Snuggling on the couch

Jumping in puddles

Playing in the backyard

Rolling down a hill

“Fishing” with a stick

Talking to a neighbor

Finding a “sword”

Sorting the silverware

When I take the time to look up from creating
my own lessons designed to meet all those objectives, I realize that his are accomplishing way more than I could have imagined. Creativity, gross motor, fine motor, dramatic play, language, spatial awareness, and a love of learning. It’s all there. It looks different from my plans, but he’s got it all covered. And you know what? I like his way better.

Find the joy,


Jessica McCauley, M.Ed. is a parenting coach/consultant. She draws on her background as a Montessori educator and Child Life Specialist to help families navigate the challenges of the early childhood years. Contact Jessica at http://smallhandsbigsteps.com/contact/ for more information or to schedule a consultation.