It takes a village…and the village is gone

Fails in homeschooling during the COVID-crisis

Let me treat you to the conversation I had with my 8-year-old son, Balen, while doing Mad Libs one evening.

Me: “Ok, I need an adjective now.”

Balen: “Butthole.”

Me: “That’s not an adjective.”

Balen: “What’s an adjective?”

Me: “Remember? A descriptive word. Butthole is a noun.

Balen: “Fine. Anus.”

Me: “That’s also a noun. It’s just the medical term for butthole. An adjective describes a noun…tells you what it is like….big, small, red, funny. And, by the way, if you use a potty word for every answer, it won’t be funny when we read it out loud.”

Balen: “Yes, it will.”

Me: “Trust me. It won’t. Scattered around a potty word can be funny, but not every word. And the point of this game is for you to learn new words and be creative.”

Balen: “Why?”

Balen: “Because I’m trying to make learning fun. So give me an adjective…a descriptive word that describes something.”

Balen: “Butthole-y.”

Me: “That’s not a word.”

Balen: “It is for me. It means something is like a butthole. That’s an adjective, right?!”

Me: (Sigh) “Fine. Now I need a verb.”

Balen: “What’s a verb again?”

Me: “An action word.”

Balen: (Balen actually took a moment to think about this one.) “Butthole-d.”

Me: “That’s it. I’m not playing this anymore.”

MAD LIBS: COVID-Home-school

Teachers are [adverb] truly, [adjective] talented people who should be paid so much more than they are. The U.S. doesn’t place enough value on early education. Imagine what our country would be like if every single child was able to get a [adjective] bomb-ass education from age 3–18 and teachers were compensated [adverb] fairly and [a better adverb] ibanker-ly for putting their whole selves into their invaluable work.

I’m very grateful for all teachers are doing during this COVID-homeschool-crisis who continue teaching across technology, for learning new programs, and for making extra efforts for the kids you know are really [verb] struggling at home with language barriers, digital access, and support. You are unsung [plural noun] heroes today; but truly, I think you are always unsung heroes of our society.

All praise to teachers aside, though, this is [adjective] insane, especially for little kids. Honestly, trying to still do my own work while being my kid’s English teacher, Spanish teacher, math teacher, tech and science teacher, art teacher, P.E. teacher, special education teacher, lunch-lady (without the-joy-of-Chris Farley), janitor, recess attendant, after-school care specialist, best-friend, sports coach, and a mom makes me feel…well, for lack of a better word, [adjective] butthole-y.

I’m exhausted. I know it’s ridiculous to even think I can scratch the surface of doing the full-time jobs of so many people. I either have to be OK with [verb] half-assing all of them, or I have to make choices. The saviors of women-trying-to-do-it-all — outsourcing and delegating — are no longer possible with kids in quarantine. The phrase, “it takes a village” has really been [verb] echoing in my mind lately, because I am suddenly acutely aware that the village is gone.

Yes, I use screens as much as I can, and I’m all about making my kids guess how much the garbage weighs as they take it out (math, check) or type-in whatever YouTube topic they are searching for (spelling, check). I’m not trying to overachieve here. I’m just trying to survive from 6:30 am to 8 pm daily with kids who, if they were dogs, would be [plural noun] Border Collies or some other similar [adjective] neurotic, high-energy breed that needs insane amounts of daily exercise which they used to get from playing with other kids at recess, P.E. and after-school sports.

I miss teachers, I miss coaches, and I miss everyone who normally works hard with my children to give me a [noun] hot second to catch my breath.

Come back, village, I miss you.

Writer, editor, mom, loss mom, and big fan of science. Full Profile on LinkedIn.

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