Let me start by saying; this decision has been SO VERY HARD! I know you are going through it or have gone through it also. Making decisions right now has even become exhausting. This choice has been no different, even the hardest of them all. You are not alone, this is a tough time. Every family has a different situation and their own choices to make. In the end though, we’ve chosen traditional (face-to-face) for school this year for our family. Let me walk you through what brought us to this decision.
We Were On a Roll and Then…
Our eldest will be going into Kindergarten this year, he will also be 6 in August. We chose to repeat the VPK program with him to help put him in a more comfortable place socially. When he first started school at 3 years old, he was shy, tentative and reluctant at drop off. Over the course of the last 2.5 years we have come leaps and bounds. By March of this year he was happily bounding into his classroom and soaking in all of what he was being taught. He is reading! We were so very ready for Kindergarten!
Then March came along and we never returned from Spring Break. I attempted to keep the momentum going. I had a schedule and all! I didn’t set aside too much time for learning, on purpose. I didn’t want to make it too intimidating or rigorous. But even that time that I had set aside started to feel like I was forcing him (and his slightly younger brother) to learn. This is was not what I had intended. I stopped.
In order to avoid a potential disdain for school, I chose to do learning on the fly as we did things. For example, I asked him to read parts of books or asked him to add up ingredients for the meal we were preparing. That was the best that I felt I could do without possibly ruining his love for school that we worked so hard for.
Just this morning, he had his Kindergarten assessment via Zoom. He did well for the first part. He even did very well in the assessment! However, by the end (15 minutes in) he was spinning around in the chair and being silly on camera. I can’t imagine that he could learn this way on a daily basis. I know that every child is different, but I am confident that mine will not learn well in front of a computer.
He needs the traditional school environment to enjoy learning and learn at his best potential.
We Need To Work
I run my own business as a Certified Sleep Consultant. My husband is STILL furloughed – he is in Hospitality. From March to now we have been taking turns finding time to work, job hunt or to just get things done. The times that we get are short and not enough to get it all done. There’s also a potential that I will need to get a job, on top of my business, just so that we can get by. Did I say yet that these times are hard?
Our kiddos are great, don’t get me wrong – BUT they are only 15 months apart, both still young and full of energy. If I want to keep them engaged and away from the TV/Tablet (which is not fully possible – #truth) then either my husband or I need to be available for them.
School gives us the opportunity to be available to work and bring money into our home so that we can sustain our living situations.
Our Mental Health
I love every single member of my household more than I could ever tell you. Truly, I do. I also know that the feeling is mutual for all of us. While this whole thing started out well, even a blessing for more family time (my boys even became better friends), it is time to branch out and be with others.
This being with others may look different than before, but we NEED it. I feel that we as humans are made to have social interaction. We are made to live in a community of people who support each other, however that may look. For now, this will look a bit different.
We started off very well with the blessing of family, but I think we need more than just our family, we need friends. We need community. He needs traditional school.
Let’s get real, this virus is not going away quickly. As much as this can be a touchy subject, our family feels that we need to learn to live with our situation as it is. Yes, I know, there are people out there who are more susceptible to the virus. I myself have an autoimmune disease, I am part of that group. However, we feel that we can take our precautions and protect our family (and me) by being as careful as we can be (i.e. wash hands, don’t touch face, wear PPE, wash clothes right after school, teach my kids to be socially distant). We are doing our best.
I believe that kids thrive off of a schedule. They thrive when they know what is coming next and what is expected of them. They need as close to normal as they can get. They not only need a schedule, they need friends. They need to interact with others. Frankly, they are still learning, as part of their normal development important things. Things like social and emotional intelligence. Frankly, this I feel, is more important at this age than whether or not they can read and add.
I am certain that nothing about this is normal and I am reaching for whatever is as close to normal as possible. We feel that traditional school is part of our answer.
Here’s The Deal
So, here is the deal: This is not an easy decision for anyone. We are ALL struggling with the choice for school and some struggling with job loss, amongst many other struggles. We are in a REALLY tough spot. BUT, I think that whatever your choice may be, I applaud you for that choice. I am proud of you for whatever decision you made. Weather it be traditional school, homeschool or a virtual/flex program. Go, girl!
No matter your choice, I’m so proud of you! I know that wasn’t an easy decision!
I saw something on social the other day, it went like this. Let’s ALL support each other in these trying times: