Allow me to paint you a picture. You are a twin mom. Your sweet little darlings are in the 3rd grade at your local public school and you work as a sales manager for a local department store. You have a nice little routine going on and have for a few years now. You love your twins’ teachers and have little to no complaints about the spelling sheets and reading logs that need to be completed with your guidance each night.
Sudden Onset Homeschooling
Pandemonium strikes and you are suddenly working from home while homeschooling your twins. Well-meaning teachers are emailing packets, recording video instructions, and detailing how we “no longer carry the one” in our curriculum. You’re fielding all of this on top of your job, your household, and possibly even another kid (or more). Tired yet?
Been there, done that
Little known fact about my family: We briefly homeschooled my twins a few years back, when they were in the 6th grade. Let’s just say I wouldn’t do it again and it gave me a new respect for homeschool moms. Hats off to each and every one of them. It’s not for me. I had too many homeschool fails for my liking.
In that short time, I did, however, learn some tricks of the trade that I am prepared to share with you as we all embark on this strange “homeschool” journey together. I have compiled a shortlist of some homeschool fails and how you can hope to avoid them. Or maybe just how to get through them without losing your mind.
Epic Homeschool Fails: Number 1
I had to yell ‘OMG, why are you naked?! Not once, not twice, but THREE times in one day.Laura B.
Yeah, some days rules just go out the window. Not wearing pants while homeschooling is an easy trap to fall into. Who are we even dressing for anyway? Not wearing pants wouldn't be so bad but it often appears to be the gateway into naked little tushies running around the house all day. I try to curb that so mass hysteria doesn’t rule my house. I said try. We can’t always win that battle.
Keep in mind, pajama pants are technically pants. And they’re a nice alternative to naked!
Epic Homeschool Fails: Number 2
They want to snack ALL DAY. They don’t snack all day in school yet for some reason they want to eat every hour.Natalie D.
Preach! This may be the truest statement I have read about what I like to call “sudden onset homeschooling”. Kids seem to be wired to eat at least hourly from the moment they come home until the moment they go to bed. I find that creating a flexible schedule with designated snack and meal times can help, at least some of the time. They’re often eating out of boredom or habit at home, rather than hunger. Remember that when they whine at you how they’re staaarrrvvinngggg 29 minutes after breakfast.
I often have certain snacks available for my kids that they can have every couple of hours. Those usually consist of fruit, veggies, or yogurt. I set those snacks aside just like I do when I pack them in their lunches.
Epic Homeschool Fails: Number 3
Trying to homeschool my 1st grader when my 10-month-old twins glued themselves to the door.Cindy S.
Oh, Cindy! There’s nothing quite like 2 mobile babies when mom is distracted for just a few minutes. This may sound absurd (it is), but I assure you that this or something like this is happening to twin parents all over the world today. Getting organized so your school-aged children can work independently until nap time is a good idea, but know there will be interruptions, distractions, and questions.
My advice: distract the little ones with whatever it takes. Toys, food, screens, bouncers, crayons. When that doesn’t work, put up baby gates and create a bit of a baby enclosure. You can even use furniture if you don’t have a gate. Be creative.
Epic Homeschool Fails: Number 4
Realizing halfway through your “school day” that you forgot to submit that project at work.
I hear you. We’ve all been there these last couple of weeks. The good news is you aren’t alone and your boss probably knows that. You get so wrapped up in how you’re supposed to explain long division to your child when you need your calculator to add your monthly bills up each month, that you completely forget you need to get that proposal to your boss by the end of the week! We are all in this homeschool fails boat together.
Allow me to save you some frustration. WRITE IT DOWN! Put it on your calendar at home. It does you no good to have sticky notes on your desk at work if you’re working from home for the time being. Make sure your calendar notifications are turned on for the devices you will be using from home to alert you to upcoming meetings and deadlines. Organization is key, friends!
Epic Homeschool Fails: Number 5
Halfway through today's math assignment, you realize you have no idea how to do pre-algebra and you and your 5th grade twins are all in tears.
Take a deep breath. You will get through this. No one is expecting perfection, especially because it may feel like you are homeschooling your kids, but you really aren’t alone. Teachers and other staff are becoming more and more available online for answering questions or video chatting to help fill some of the gaps. This is a new situation for everyone involved and we’re all learning as we go.
It took me a few days to realize that I needed to sit and work out the lessons myself before I even attempted to explain anything to my twins. There is no need for them to watch me watch videos and scribble furiously on a whiteboard while muttering obscenities to myself for 23 minutes while we’re trying to get through the day's lesson.
Epic Homeschool Fails: Number 6
My kids won’t stop fighting long enough to learn a thing!
Isn’t that the epitome of twin life? I mean really, folks. Twins fight. Sometimes they fight a lot and it can be super frustrating. Sometimes you just want to run away from the fighting, don’t you? You’re trying to get your work done, oversee their spelling packets, and keeping an eye on the wandering toddler, all while remembering to put the laundry in the dryer before you have to wash it for the 3rd time and the twins just will NOT stop fighting about everything. They fight over the “good” pencils. They fight over whose seat is who’s. They fight over what time they get a snack. There will be days when they just fight about everything.
When we have these days in my house I separate them. Sometimes that means sending one to their room for a bit with quiet independent work or reading while you guide the other in the kitchen. I have even sent them both to their rooms to read for a half an hour to give everyone time to cool off if I need to. It’s good for them and for me.
Hang in there
Overall, it’s a bit of a circus. We are all trying to come to terms with this new normal together. Remember to give yourself a ton of grace, laugh when you can find humor, and hang in there because it won’t be like this forever. They will be back in the classroom before we know it, and we just might miss them when they’re gone all day. Maybe.
Megan Loden is a stay home home mom to twins — identical 14 year old girls — and an 11 year old son. She, her husband, and kids live just outside of Phoenix. Her writing can also be found on Bluntmoms, sammichesandpsychmeds and scarymommy. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.