So, we all know that 2020 was a horrible year. I don’t need to review everything that has happened in the last year. We all know. We’ve all been affected. We’ve all known someone who has had COVID-19, have had it ourselves, or (worst of all) lost someone due to the disease. We all know that the world shut down and still hasn’t recovered. We all know that kids are learning from home rather than in an environment where they can engage with their teachers and their peers.
I’ve mentioned it before, but C and I have 2.5 kids. M and Z are in high school and K is in 4th grade. At the end of the 2019-20 school year, learning wasn’t happening because educators worldwide were scrambling just to engage students. But C and I still made all 3 kids attend “class” daily. We didn’t tell them that they weren’t being graded. We didn’t tell them that there wasn’t any real work to do. We made the end of last year a practice session for this school year…well, once the governor closed the schools for the rest of the school year. I’m glad we did. It made things a bit simpler for our kids.
Let me sidetrack for a second and say that the only time I ever considered home schooling was when K was ready for kindergarten. M and Z don’t listen to me when I try to teach them, and I knew early on that public education was the right choice for them. K is too smart for his own good, though. We tested for early entry in our school district and he fell short by 5 points. We had already enrolled him in a charter school, though, because when it was time to register our district wasn’t accepting early entrance. K’s birthday is 13 days after the cut-off. I considered home schooling him because of his birthday. I’ve considered home schooling him every year since he started school. Ultimately, he has gone to a charter school (for kindergarten) or public school (every year since) because he needs to learn to interact with his peers properly.
So schools closed at the end of last school year because of the pandemic. Not a huge deal for me, but definitely a big deal for C. C has had to adjust his sleep schedule almost daily since March of last year. Then this school year was delayed because our state was having another surge and it wasn’t safe to open schools. Instead of delaying for weeks or months, our district (like most in our state) scrambled to come up with plans to do distance learning. Instead of a 2 week, or more, delay our kids started school 2 DAYS later than originally planned.
But it hasn’t been the same. For the first quarter, school was strictly online. Not a huge deal for M or Z since they’re relatively well-adjusted kids. But for K…K is a horse of a different color. Every day was a struggle with him. His mainstream teacher figured out how to balance his needs with hers relatively quickly. As soon as the lesson was over and work was done for a class, K’s teacher set up a breakout room for him to play with a classmate or two until it was time for the next subject.
I also learned that M and Z aren’t as well-adjusted as I’d originally thought. M nearly failed every class in the first quarter. She only passed because the district has allowed late work all year so she could catch up and turn in work that was due all the way back to the first day. She followed the same pattern for second quarter too, but is getting better during the third quarter…but only because she can drive now.
Second quarter started hybrid learning…for parents who were willing to risk sending their children to school. Yes please!!! I sent all the kids to school, on campus, 2 days each week with online learning the other 3. M and Z attend on campus on Monday and Wednesday. K attends on campus Tuesday and Thursday. Everyone has school online on Friday. Hours followed the normal Friday schedules every day.
Third quarter started online only for 3 weeks to quarantine after the holidays. Now they’re back in a hybrid schedule. Next month, after Spring Break, the options are online only every day or on campus daily. I am so excited to send all 3 kids back to school full-time. They desperately need to be able to interact with their peers on a more regular basis. In preparation, the district started full-time hours last week. That, in and of itself, has made life easier for C and me.
Even work has been different for me. Kids can’t share supplies, so I have to make sure I have things set-up separately and have enough supplies for each individual kid. Not difficult, but it’s a hassle. Instead of a pile of supplies that the kids can use as needed, I have to put supplies out for each kid to use and no one else can touch them. I’ve started using small bins for each child, and I put their supplies inside for each craft each week. It’s a change, but it works and we have made some pretty neat things.