"My kids haven't learned anything in months!" I've heard this from several moms. It's been a weird year, friend. But you aren't failing your kids! Maybe you are just in a season of slow schooling.
Whether you homeschool or are temporarily schooling at home, there is stress on your routine. My doctor explained to me that stress is anything different that requires you to think outside of your normal routines. Your brain has to work extra hard to be present when things are different or uncertain, even if it's a good kind of change.
Think about family vacation. Why is it stressful? Your brain is working overtime to calculate all the details, respond to unplanned circumstances, and help your children navigate the changes in routine.
So even if you are enjoying the rest as a family or the change is slowing down your pace of life, you can feel the stress of always being "on" instead of relying on habits and routines to get through life on "auto-pilot".
So, how does that relate to school at home?
First, it's okay to have seasons of slow learning in times of greater stress.
That's one of the beauties of schooling at home. We've had seasons during moves, pregnancy, sickness, and intense therapy with one child when book work wasn't happening. In those times, we go into "maintenance mode". A little bit of math every day, phonics workbooks or reading, and lots of playing outside. As long as their brains keeping working a little bit, I find we can jump back in without any skills lost.
While this may not be as easy with virtual school, you may be able to ask for modifications from teachers to help slow down the pace.
Second, when you are learning at home, you can get more done in a short time.
If you have a week or two devoted to a specific topic, you can really dig in a learn a lot...maybe even as much as a teacher can get to in a whole semester. Try to plan a time to deep dive into a topic so that you can use your brain energy more efficiently. This is how adults learn, right? We get excited about something and research it until we have satisfied our curiosity on the subject.
This can reduce your stress overall because you have a plan and you aren't using up little bits of time each day. Get everyone excited and talk it up. They'll be ready and eager to learn instead of drudging through busy work each day.
Again, with virtual schooling, this may require talking to the administrators to find out if you can get credit for special projects instead of doing what everyone else is doing. Maybe you can work out the end of the semester due date, instead of turning in work daily or weekly so that you can work at your own pace.
Finally, there's more to learning than book work and lectures.
Take some time to connect with your kids each day about their emotions. (Brighter Fun is a great resource for teaching younger children about emotions!) Emotional intelligence is a key factor for success in life. Yes, math is important. But a few months of math maintenance and lots of love are going to do a lot more for your child long term than pushing through math facts and hating life.
Give yourself grace. Give the kids grace. Don't add extra things to think about that cause more stress. Find good routines, even if they don't include schoolwork every day. Slow learning in times of stress may be the best thing you can do for your kids this year.
Read more about some life lessons I learned from my parents that were far more valuable than math facts.