All the parents are talking about it these days. I know it seems crazy to say, but let’s just side step the whole ‘is the virus real or is it just a conspiracy’ —‘wearing masks are super important and make huge a difference’ conversation and just talk about our kids and their future education.

IN PERSON LEARNING – no matter what our feelings on all this are, WILL look very different than it did last year. No matter if you believe there is a danger or not, the classrooms will be laid out differently, the social environment will be different, the way the teachers teach and the way the students will be able to learn will forcibly be very different. Lunch time will not look the same for these kids who are longing for that time to sit and chat with their friends, share the best snacks their mom packed them with their neighbor and then run around on the playground together. From the sound of things, this is just not going to happen. Some schools are attempting to set up their classrooms in a way that once seated at their desks, students will be able to remove their masks, but that is also not a guarantee at this point. There will be A LOT of Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer and soap and more cleaning materials used daily… heck hourly! These teachers are just as nervous and overwhelmed as maybe you are right now. I have one kid who insists on returning to in-person learning. I am 99% certain that once she gets on campus and sees how truly different things will be, she will change her mind and want to stay home. But I am letting her decide. If you are choosing to keep your kids home, don’t scoff at those who are letting their kids go. Some kids NEED the chance to try and go into the classroom, even if it will be unbearably different. Some parents NEED their kids to go back to school, even if it won’t last or things have to change yet again. Each of us needs to make the right decision for ourselves. What I might do, may not be what my child wants to do, or what’s best for her in the long run. Let’s spend less time judging each other for what we may or may not decide to do, but instead support one another as we all face this uncertainty together.

E-Learning – MAN was that a tough finish to the school year last Spring!!! 3 different schools, 3 different ways of handling the pandemic and forced online school, 3 different kids with 3 different personalities to manage…. I am not sure how we all survived. There were MANY MANY MANY assignments that did not get done. Far too many zeros on the grade sheet for my liking, but we chose sanity over quantity for schoolwork and I do not regret my decision one bit. My kids were done and I was done. We were ready to just embrace the time together as a family and make the most of being stuck in the house. Despite our frustration and exhausted state I do recognize that many many teachers worked SOOOO hard to switch gears with their students and end the year successfully. My youngest daughters teacher did a great job of having weekly, sometimes daily video calls with the kids and played games together. The teachers did their best to maintain educational instruction and consistency with assignments… there was just so much going on in the world and in our homes that I think, despite their best efforts so many families gave up at one point or another. E learning for me as the parent was so difficult because I had to try and keep track of each kids assignments and lessons that were given to them. There was not just one easy place to go *click click* and suddenly see everything laid out nice and organized (man wouldn’t that be nice). No, it was numerous emails, multiple websites and sooooooooo many videos and links and things. I have two kids who think they want to start the school year on E-learning, but we shall see how long that lasts. They are switching to new schools AND a new school district this year so I am curious to see how this district handles E-learning. Props to all the teachers out there working hard to come up with a plan to handle these new unknown waters as best they can. If you choose to do E-Learning this fall, please have patience with the teachers and staff, they are having to take things one day at a time too.

HOME SCHOOL – If you struggled with E-learning at the end of the year last year like we did and really do not want to send your kids back to in person learning, please please please take a moment and consider Homeschooling. YOU are in control of everything! Okay, well you could choose a home school co-op or program where you share some of the planning and curriculum responsibility BUT for the most part you will know exactly what your kids are learning or will be learning and let me tell you – it will be wonderful! Not to mention, the kids learn more in a shorter time span. Have you seen those posts going around about the right amount of time for kids to spend learning while doing home school? It might look ridiculous but it’s totally true!

Elementary : 1-2 hours a day

Middle School : 2-3 hours a day

High School : 3-4 hours a day

No joke, that’s literally all they need. AND it doesn’t have to be a bunch of worksheets and paperwork and tedious stuff either…. Maybe sit together and watch a DISNEY Nature documentary one day, then have older kids do some additional research and write an essay, the littles can draw a picture or make a diorama about what they learned… something creative and fun. One lesson done and it’s FUN learning. Kids absorb and learn so much from doing and seeing and we honestly teach them far more than we realize by letting them help us or showing them how to do some things all on their own…. ie baking and cooking. I LOVED being able to plan the lessons on Sundays and know exactly what activities we’d be doing and where we might go. I loved letting the kids sleep in and start their work when they were fully rested. I loved having the time with them and experience learning with them. I would love to home school again, but all three seem to have other ideas, and that’s fine. I respect their opinions and for now, Ill allow them to decide. BUT I will have no problem switching over from E-learning to straight up home school if we start out as rough as we ended the year. I will not do that again.

SO, do I have any answers for you? NO. My answers for me and my children will not be the answer for you and your family. I am blessed to have a flexible work situation and the ability to be home and work with the kids for e-learning, but I know not everyone can do that. I can say this: If you are really struggling, or your kiddo is struggling and you need help, advice or just a listening ear and friendly face – reach out to me. I would be happy to help in any way I can, even if that means maybe having a school day and working with the kids all together and getting caught up while you have a day to relax. The saying ‘it takes a village’ is no joke and I will happily be part of your village friend.

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