Safety…I could just leave that there and stop. It seems like that’s all the reason I need. But, there is so much more that goes into making sound decisions. These are my personal opinions based on MY life. This isn’t a cookie-cutter issue. Above all, whether you choose distance learning, sending your child back to school, or homeschooling please know I understand how hard this choice is. You are loved and supported here. Let’s start with why I wanted Ethan to go back to school.
Socialization has been a huge topic for parents lately, especially those of us that have only one child.
Lock down was hard for Ethan. Heck, lock down was hard on a lot of us. If you can, imagine being a single child just missing their friends and wanting this “co-ro-na-virus thing” to go away. With the current climate I cannot, in good conscience, send my child into the petri dish and expect everything is going to be okay. Furthermore, I didn’t want my bestie to have to deal with the same for her son.
As a result, I had a crazy thought and invited my best friends son here for the school year. It’s a win-win! She gets to go to work without worrying about teaching her son and paying the bills, and our kids get an education and a playmate. Are there risks involved? Of course! (Mostly my sanity! haha) However, I feel the risks involved with two kids at home vs going to the petri dish is far better.
Education from an Educator
Honestly, I have to say I prefer sending my son to school to be taught by a professional. This isn’t to say I can’t do it. As a matter of fact, I’ve done a lot of teaching with Ethan -like reading and writing, but that was a few months in the summer. And then in March of 2020 I had to do distance learning, use the materials I was given, and switch to a whole new way of teaching. To tell the truth- I had no idea what I was doing.
Boy howdy do educators deserve far more money than they are currently earning!
Thank the Universe for his two wonderful teachers! They allowed me to do things a little differently and didn’t expect that I would do anything perfectly. I felt like part of their team. They worked WITH me, answered my questions, and *most importantly* they understood how Ethan learns. (Timed ANYTHING sent him into fight or flight mode). In fact, when I told them we cannot be on the computer very much to do work, they understood and let us thrive on what does work: pencil and paper.
What I’ve learned in the last few months of distance learning is that Ethan doesn’t need to be in the classroom to feel the love from his teachers. I can be the liaison by communicating effectively with his teachers and principal. Now that I’ve already got a (small) handle on distance learning I can take the materials given, and adjust accordingly. I know I can teach with the help of the school.
I get by with a little help…
Time to be me
There was a lot that happened in those months after the schools shut down. It flew by so fast and now here I am getting prepped to the max to teach two energetic kids. (I say again, educators deserve all the money!)
The major thing I remember from those months is that I started to lose myself. The plans I had made for myself, the blog, my health, my garden, etc. had all seemed to go *poof*. All-of-a-sudden I’m a teacher on top of all the other hats I wear…and it seemed impossible to handle it all. My mental and physical health started to fade rather quickly.
I let go
I let go of the blog because it felt like too much to handle. Stopped posting on social media because that like a full-time job, and constantly reading about Covid-19 got exhausting. And I stopped doing yoga because I fell ill (no, not the ‘rona) and needed to rest. I was a hot fucking mess and definitely NOT okay. So, the need for my son to go to school felt pretty major on my mental and physical health. I need time to de-stress because stress and I…we don’t mix well.
A lot of parents are concerned with how they are going to provide for their families. Fortunately, I don’t have this worry. I am blessed with a one-income life. This sounds strange sometimes because it seems like two incomes are better than one. But this works best for our family. Hell, it works better for me!
If your concern is that you don’t want your child back in school, but you also can’t afford not to go back to work I think the best option is to look at your friends and/or family. Do you have anyone that can take a couple extra kids? If it’s just not possible, talk with your child’s principal and teachers. They are doing their best to help and keep everything safe. Together we can find a way.
We get by with a little help...
That brings me to why I’m keeping him home and choosing distance learning.
Both their mental and physical health are at risk here. I cannot, in good conscience, send Ethan to school knowing what his teachers are going to go through (while I stay home, NOT earning a wage). How can we expect them to keep everything sanitized all the time, make our children keep their masks on, AND stay distanced from their friends. How can we expect teachers to do all of this AND teach? This is not a safe learning environment in my eyes.
My above reasons for sending him to school are mostly selfish reasons. What about what I need? But, what about what the collective needs? Again, we can find a way.
Teachers get by with a little help…
If things were “normal”. If our risk phase was at a five or higher…I could see it. But guess what?! It’s not. So I’m keeping Ethan home and choosing distance learning. I’m leaning on my husband and teachers for support, and I’ll be scheduling alone time to make sure I get the rest I deserve. Most importantly, I’ll be doing my part to keep the collective safe.
No matter what this school year looks like for you, remember that it is your choice and you’re amazing for making it.
Let’s all get by with a little help,