I have been postponing writing anything about the 2020-2021 school year on here because I just don’t want to think about it. Funny enough, though, it’s all I seem to be thinking about these days. Just ask my husband. I’m driving him crazy.
Our county schools have opted for 100% virtual education for at least the start of the 2020-2021 school year. I will avoid giving my opinion on the politics of this choice. Our family is privileged enough to make virtual learning work. I fully acknowledge there is no good solution to making sure our elementary-aged children are well educated while keeping everyone healthy.
Last Spring’s online classes for the kids didn’t go particularly well. Our public school district botched the rollout and couldn’t get technology issues easily resolved. There is a lot of pressure on the schools to “get it right” for the Fall, and I’m anxious about it. There’s a greater expectation for kids to be online during the day and the sample schedule I’ve seen have the kids busy during much of the normal school day. I have no idea how we’re going to keep two young kids focused on graded schoolwork and Zoom classes while my husband and I work from home, even with our two-hour shifts.
I’m again so thankful for my employer who allows us to make our own hours. But, I still need to be available for my team members and clients throughout the day. And, I really don’t want to be waking up before dawn and working after the kids’ bedtime for an undetermined number of months just so I can sit beside my kindergartener to make sure he’s paying attention during circle time. I CAN do this, yes, but it sounds miserable for all involved and not terribly educational.
I’m trying to keep our options open for next year, but I’m running out of time. I’m considering homeschooling one or both of the kids so they can at least entertain themselves or go to some sort of daycare for the remaining portions of the day. It’s a full-year commitment though, and I’m hopeful the younger elementary kids will get back into a classroom sooner rather than later.
There are some private schools that are going back full time, but I’m pretty convinced that they will end up being told to close for at least a portion of the year. Then, we’d be paying for a private school and still be back to virtual teaching.
I’ve researching “podding” (geesh, what a word) but haven’t seriously explored it. The ones that have tutors and teachers leading them, understandably so, are EXPENSIVE. The whole pod movement seems to be figuring itself out. Nothing is clear cut, which makes me hesitate and avoid wading into the water. For instance, if I’m paying for a tutor to come to my house two days a week and a neighbor’s house three days a week, how do you handle payment, taxes, insurance? Ugh, forget it!! I don’t have the time and energy to get into all of that.
For now, the kids are going back to public school, even though it is going to be virtual. As long as the official school day schedule isn’t crazy, we’ll probably stay with the public school. My big concern is that the kids don’t go back to the classroom at all this year, because then I would have wished we homeschooled, but I can’t know what’s going to happen. It’s the nature of a pandemic. At least the school board is saying they want K-2 back into the school once it is feasible.
I keep telling myself to breathe. One day at a time. These “grades” the kids are going to get don’t really matter. They will learn what they need to learn because I will focus on the fundamentals with them at home like we’ve been doing since March 13, 2020 – the day “the world turned upside down.” (Look! A Hamilton reference! I’m driving my husband crazy with those too.)