Episode 105 of the Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 105: And My Child’s School Went Online Again. I work with mothers of high school students and beyond, who are in the trenches with sad and possibly, overwhelming thoughts about what their life will look like when their baby heads to college and begins to leave the nest. My clients’ big question is what will I do with my time? Is this you? I’ve been there, and I get it. Empowering you to write the next jaw-dropping, amazing chapter in your life is my passion. I am energized by leading you in the process of exploration and am thrilled when you unlock the power that lies within you. This podcast is my gift to you.
Hello, my empty nest friend and CEO of Your Life! I have had two different topics that I had planned to do today, and the more I see schools moving online, be it college or elementary school, middle school, high school, and parents, you know, rightly so, going right to freak out mode. I understand there are so many things to think about. I thought, you know, I was a homeschooling mother, so I’d like to share some thoughts with you that hopefully help you, moving forward.
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An extra thank you to bruh bruh Cuh-zoh who graciously took the time to provide my podcast with a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts. The encouraging review is titled: “Listening to a Friend!” “From business, to parenting, to social issues coach Christine tackles them all in great form! I subscribed instantly and will listen regularly.” This makes me feel so good. Thank you. You all know if you are regular listeners, I talk about this periodically, that podcasting is a quiet medium in regard to feedback. So, thanks, Cuh-zoh!
Now, as I mentioned before, I had a totally different topic planned for today. But here it is Sunday, the episode comes out Friday, and I’ve been watching colleges and schools move back to being online for fall, due to COVID-19. Make sure you are really watching your Protector around all of the changes that are happening for your family’s schooling situation. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we can handle change. We initially think we’re not going to be able to handle this. It’s going to be awful. All of the plans we had are up in the air or not happening at all. But guess what? We can handle it.
We need to check our thoughts. We need to be in tune with our Protector. We need to watch those thought deliveries that are continually being tossed at us over and over, and over again, from our family members, from the media, from school, from well-intentioned friends, from friends who have different views and values, and ideas about how the upcoming school year is going to go. You need to know you. You need to watch your thought deliveries 100 percent.
I want to say a few things about if your child is going online, and I’m going to talk about all age ranges real quick. If your child’s school is online, and they are younger than high school, I want to challenge you in that if you thought what you did in the spring was homeschooling, I just want to say, no, it was not. That’s all.
Well, no, that’s not all. But when your brick and mortar school is forced to go online very quickly to an infrastructure that they are not set up to do; that teachers are not educated in how to teach online; that your child probably can do it better than them, because they spend more time on technology. I’m not talking about subject matter. That, and then you expecting to help them teach a lesson that you know nothing about, that my friend, is not homeschooling. I don’t want you to give homeschooling a bad rap, because homeschooling can be amazing. Amazing! There are no forms to fill out. Well, you have your end of year and beginning of year, and things you need to do for your state that you live in, legal things. But you don’t have these forms coming in daily that you have to sign for tomorrow. You don’t have projects that your child didn’t tell you about, that you suddenly have to help them with. Your parent/teacher conferences are now you are heading out to have coffee, and you can pat yourself on the back, because you got to plan your day. Yeah, homeschooling has really bad days, but it also has really good days, and you have a lot more control on what it looks like. Guess what? I didn’t even teach new math. I didn’t have to. [Giggle].
I just want to share with you, if your child’s young and you do have the opportunity to do traditional homeschooling, and that would work for your family, do research. Look into it. You can reach out to me; email me, DM me on the socials. I am happy to talk about homeschooling, any time.
Homeschooling for every family looks different. Some have no curriculum whatsoever, that’s called unschooling. Others replicate what brick and mortar school looks like right in their house, and that’s what works for them. It’s all good. And then, in the middle you have cyber schools, so I want to introduce you to the idea of cyber schools if you haven’t considered them. Whether it’s temporary or long-term, it might be the right fit for your family, right now.
I share this with you because cyber schools are already set up with the infrastructure to teach online. They already have teachers who are used to teaching online. They have a support system, maybe not enough this year, because I’m willing to bet that most cyber schools are completely inundated with enrollment requests, but they normally have plenty of people that will help you and they know what to look for when your child isn’t doing well. They have check-in sessions. They can handle the IEPs online, so definitely check this out. I’m not saying it’s the way to go, just check it out.
Now, if your child is technically an adult, 18 or over, yes, I like to use child no matter the age, because I’m still my mother’s child, and I’m almost 50. Back to college. So your child’s school moves online. Take deep breaths. Try to hold your thoughts until you're alone: say them out loud; say them to a friend; write them down. Encourage your child to do the same thing. There are a lot of variables here, too. Who’s paying for college, is it you? Is it them? Do they have merit scholarships, where if they don’t go back, if they take a gap year, they’re going to lose it? So ultimately, it doesn’t make any financial sense for them not to attend, even if it is only online.
Here’s the thing, I don’t have the answer for you. What my child’s doing and what your child’s doing, does not have to be the same. It doesn’t have to look remotely the same. We have totally different circumstances. The reason my daughter is at the school she is, is completely for her to have peers that she has not had in her life. It is the best decision we have ever made, and for her to stay home, online, at a time when she could be on campus. Yes, there are risks involved. We are well aware of them. But she has decided it’s worth the risk. She might change her mind in a week, and that’s okay. But ultimately, the things that we can control, the things that make the biggest difference in our lives, are knowing who we are as humans, and encouraging our children to know who they are as humans. And to be able to make a decision knowing all the facts that you know in the moment, to feel peaceful with that, and to be able to look ahead in a few years, think about yourself, and then try looking back, and going, hmm, do I think I’m happy with that decision? Do I wish I had taken the risk? Do I wish I had stayed home instead of taking the risk? Who am I?
This is really valuable work, and it shouldn’t be something that is decided based on what you read online; based on what 80 percent of the people are doing. Yes, it should be decided on facts that impact health, your immune system and safety, and from there, the actual decision should be yours. It should be your child’s, your family’s, and move forward. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. There is a lot of worrying what everyone else is doing. Guess what? No, everyone is not going to wear their mask at a college campus. We all know this. But you can go to Walmart and people aren’t all wearing masks, so let’s be real.
This is how life works. You figure out what risk you’re willing to take and you take it, or you don’t take it, and that’s the decision you make. And then, you have a lot of thought work to do around that decision. Like, a lot of thought work. Just when you think you’re done with that thought work, there’s going to be more. Yup, it’s a big roller coaster, and that is from my flock member, Michelle.
So my friend, I really, really, really, really could talk about homeschooling versus not homeschooling, and I really didn’t talk about it a lot in here, because I just know it will be four hours long. If you want to know something: if you want to know thoughts; if you want to know what my experience is; just ask a question and I am more than happy to answer it in an upcoming episode. I think that’s the best way to go, rather than me talk for 40 minutes about something that might not be of interest to you. But know this, you know what’s best. You need to trust yourself.
Your child, if they’re 18 or older, and they can drive away and pay for their college, and they decide to do something that you think is just not the right decision, well, I bet you did some of that stuff when you were their age. This is their time to figure it out: to try the crazy things; to try the things that, yeah, there might be a lot of risk; it might be amazing; it might be awful, but you don’t know until you try. Be there for your children right now. All the thoughts and anxiety that you have about our current situation, they feel that, and they have their own. I encourage you to get to know them no matter their age. What’s going on in their mind? You know? If they’re five, hey, how’re you doing today? Do you have any big thoughts that you want to talk about? If they’re 18, be like, hey, I know you probably don’t want to talk to me right now, but like, if there’s anything that you just want to throw out there, and we can discuss, let’s do it. There is no better way to get to know your kids. But hold the space for them. Listen to them. If your gut reaction is to be like, ugh, I don’t like this, and you can feel it, just stop. Take deep breaths. Be curious about why you’re thinking that, and you know, be curious to them, why do you think that’s going to happen? Why do you think that wouldn’t happen to you? Enjoy this. If you get more time with your kids right now, enjoy it, because the empty nest is going to show up eventually.
While you may have a honeymoon period where you are very excited that your children are back in school, or moved out of the house, there comes a time where you realize you miss them. So take deep breaths, enjoy the time with them now, and bond so that when they do leave, they find themselves wanting to call mom. Maybe not everyday. All right, I’m just going to stop there. Let me know what you think. I’ll be back next week. Remember, my friend, you are amazing! See ya!
[Still listening] - Lessons from a spider web - Episode #26 - Changing Your Mind is Okay.