Why I’m Still Making My Kids Do Their School Work (mostly)

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I’ve noticed a trend popping up on my Facebook feed of articles and tweets: posts and letters from moms telling their schools that they are done with e-learning, done with crisis homeschooling. Their kids aren’t finishing the school year and will no longer be logging into online classes or learning portals.

I’m not here to criticize those moms. The last weeks have been brutal for most of us, and everyone’s situation is different. But I do want to share why my elementary age kids will continue to complete their schoolwork this year (the best we can). And, why I think that’s the best option for many of our kids.

Surprise. It’s not mainly about the academics. I know that my kids have an enriching environment with plenty of adult conversation, books, and real life learning opportunities. At their age, my kids will catch up from any gaps this year.

So why care?

School Is a Privilege

I want my kids to learn that school is a privilege. We live in a country where we not only have the opportunity to go to school for free but where school still continues through a pandemic.

Our local elementary school provides lunches each week, have given computers to everyone that needed one (even those of us that have computers but need an extra one for the kids to work on), and have created lesson plans for each day. My principle emails us every day. My kids’ teachers have organized Zoom calls, created tutorial videos, and answered every question that came their way.

I don’t want my kids to miss the lesson that education is a tremendous gift. We are thankful for all the work that provides an education for our children even now, and I believe that continuing to complete schoolwork shows my kids that we value and appreciate their educational opportunities.

Learning Is Important (With or Without Grades)

Maybe I’m not the only parent to wonder if there will be any grades (my district still has not said that they won’t issue them). On the one hand, it seems pointless to complete worksheets and lessons while wondering if at the end of the day anyone will even care to look at them.

Is school right now a waste of time?

I think by encouraging my kids to complete their assignments each day that I’m reinforcing what I try to teach them on a normal year: that it isn’t all about the grades. We have always told our kids that we care much more about how hard they work than what grade they achieve.

So what if we get graded or not graded? We learn because it’s important to learn, so why stop just because our work might not be graded?

Right Now Is a Wonderful Time to Catch Up

I have a daughter who was really struggling to memorize her multiplication and division tables. Her teacher has included math practice as an optional activity each day but I’m requiring it. This is a great time for her to actually master these math facts before going into fourth grade. And, unlike before where she constantly felt behind, now she has the flexibility to learn at her own pace. Let’s utilize it!

School Provides Structure in our Day

My husband and I both work from home, so fortunately we are here but not so fortunately we both have a lot of work to complete. Our schedule honestly feels a bit crazy and not laid back right now.

Having my kids complete their school work before playing video games or watching movies (our family rule), keeps them busy for a good bit of the day. One of their assignments is reading for 30 minutes. That is 30 minutes of quiet bliss in our house.

Bonus, my kids would always turn up their nose at the stuff I pick out for them from the library, but I went to the library and stocked up on books before it shut down so now they are stuck with my choices. I think that they are starting to figure out that I have pretty good taste in books and that’s a win.

Free Printable Checklist: I created a printable checklist for my kids. I’ll share my copy with you. Just make a copy and swap out the stuff for things you want your kids to do each day.

I’m Teaching My Kids that It’s Okay to Not Be Perfect

We have had weeks and days where we didn’t get school done perfectly. I’m teaching my kids that just because we aren’t perfect doesn’t mean that we should quit.

Mental health is absolutely important and we are prioritizing it, but like many things in life it’s not an either/or situation for my family. We take each day and week at a time and do our best.

Our schoolwork isn’t always perfect, but we are still moving forward.

Additional Considerations

I realize that my family is not the same as every other family, but I hope that this article encourages those of you that are still doing the work of school that it is worth it. We are also:

  • Being flexible. We are continuing school but we also have fun playing outside, experimenting in the kitchen and more. We adjust our schoolwork each day as needed. I’ve found that my children’s teachers are incredibly supportive and encouraging of us adjusting as we need to.
  • Sometimes using double speed. I’ll confess that I showed my daughter and son where that 2x speed is on the video player. Sometimes there is a video where they already have a fairly good grasp of the subject and double speed keeps it moving along.
  • Refusing to get stressed out. While I am making my kids do their schoolwork each day, I also encourage them that it’s okay if we occasionally miss an assignment or can’t figure out the answer to a problem. After all, we have more time than ever to figure it out later.
  • Supporting other people. We recognize what works for us might not work for everyone. We all face unique challenges and have to make the decisions that are best for our family.

What are you doing with schoolwork right now?

About the Author
Bethany Winston is the owner and editor-in-chief of Kidding Around Greenville & Kidding Around Spartanburg. She enjoys exploring parks, discovering local events, and meeting the people who make Greenville an amazing place to live. You can contact her directly at [email protected]

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