We are currently in a worldwide pandemic. The world hasn’t seen this kind of panic and uncertainty in 100 years.
We were on lockdown in the spring and have been trying to find our place in this new reality all summer.
In our town, we spent from Spring Break to the end of the school year doing an involuntary “homeschool”. I put that word in quotes because what we were doing wasn’t really homeschool. It was a rushed, unprepared public school put online out of panic.
Our family has done online homeschool before. I tried it when my kids were in elementary school (4th, 3rd and 1st grade). We lasted one semester.
Not because the school was bad. Because my 3 boys were driving me crazy! Constant fighting, bad internet and me not being able to ever be away from them (they were too young to stay home and I didn’t have any backup from family or friends during the day).
What our school district did this spring wasn’t homeschool. It was busy work and just trying to survive until the end of the year. My kids hated it and I don’t think they learned much either.
This really isn’t the district’s fault and definitely not the teachers fault. No one was prepared for this scenario and they just did the best they could.
So now we’ve had a few months to think about what we should do this fall and how we should continue our kids’ education during a pandemic.
This is our family breakdown:
My oldest is a freshman in college this year (Class of 2020 had their own issues). As of now, he is supposed to be going in the dorm and doing in person learning. I don’t know how long that will last, but I hope he doesn’t get sent home to work online. He doesn’t want that and neither do we!
My middle son is a senior this year (Class of 2021 is hoping they don’t lose as much as the class before them). He is supposed to be playing football and participating in the school play. Who knows if those things will happen. He only has a couple of classes at the high school because he spends half the day at the local community college in their mechanics program. If all goes well, he will have his associates degree before his high school diploma.
My youngest son is a sophomore this year. He has been the least affected so far, although baseball season ended after 2 games this spring. He has been going to football workouts too, but doesn’t know if they will actually play.
Our school district gave us 2 choices for the fall:
Go back to school in person or do an online program approved by the district.
Here’s how I see it:
In Person Pros:
The kids get to see their friends.
They learn better with in person teaching.
There is a feeling of community and that “we’re all in this together”.
In Person Cons:
They have to wear a mask all day.
Many or all of their extracurricular activities will be cut.
They are more likely to get sick from the virus.
Any day we can get a call that their fellow student has the virus and they have to quarantine for 14 days. While quarantined, they will have a computer to do their school work online.
More continuity of lessons (not going from school to home to school, etc).
School takes less time during the day.
They don’t have to leave the house or even get dressed.
They are less likely to get sick from the virus.
There is debate as to whether the caliber of education is the same (with the online school the district is promoting).
Limited social interaction with their peers.
It is harder to learn some subjects online for some students (math and science in particular).
So keeping these thoughts in mind, what have we decided for our kids and why?
We have decided to send our kids back to school in person.
Why? There are several reasons.
5 Reasons We Are Sending Our Kids Back to School in a Global Pandemic
1. Our kids are healthy with no known medical problems.
I get it. We have been very blessed to have healthy kids. They rarely get sick and are overall healthy kids.
Therefore, I believe that if they get the virus their bodies can handle it. I can’t be certain of that because they haven’t gotten it yet.
But they don’t get flu vaccines and haven’t had the flu in many years. This virus has a 98% survival rate, so I will take my chances.
2. They did not do well with online education in the past.
This is a big one. Last spring was a fail for them. Yes they passed their classes, but that’s about it. It was a struggle and a fight. Every day.
My kids are great at math, but they don’t learn math well online. They need that teacher (and other students) in front of them to ask questions and help them understand the material.
They don’t like English, so that was a hard subject for them online as well. Group reading and projects help them get thru English and they learn this subject better in person too.
3. They crave the social interaction.
My boys are very social. They love seeing their friends at school and participating in activities and sports as much as possible.
While we still don’t know if after school activities and sports will be possible, they need that social interaction so much.
They are very different than their mom (the introvert). If I had had this choice in high school, I would definitely have chosen the online school. Just give me the work and let me get it done! But my boys are different than I am and we have to take that into consideration when we make this decision.
4. We don’t live with anyone that has health problems.
Not only are our kids healthy and without chronic health issues, but we are too. It’s just the 5 of us and we are all healthy. We try to eat right, exercise and live healthy lives. (I feel very blessed for this fact).
We don’t have any extended family living with us or even near us. Our closest relative lives in the next state and their grandparents live 2 states away.
So we don’t worry about bringing back the virus to more “at risk” people at home. The only older people they usually see are at school or church, not home.
5. We need to get back to “normal” life, as much as possible
What is “normal”? Who knows.
2020 is definitely going to be a year for the history books. Normal life has gone out the window.
But I know that staying home all of the time is not the answer. Especially for the long term. We need to live our lives.
Anytime you step out your door, you are taking risks. You could get in a car wreck, get the flu, get bit by a snake or get a piano dropped on your head. Who knows?
Life is full of risks.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware and be smart. Wear a mask. Wash your hands more. Don’t get in people’s faces (social distancing). Stay home if you feel sick.
We should do these things, and then get on with our lives.
If you are in a high risk group, then you need to make more difficult choices. Maybe online school is one of them.
But the rest of us need to get back to life. Life happens when you leave your home and go out into the world.
It’s good for your mental health. It’s good for your community. It’s good for the economy.
So we are going to try to go back to school this fall. Who knows how long it will last.
It may be a perpetual snow day each day, where we never know from one day to the next if we can go in the school building and have school.
But I want to try. I want my kids to go back to school.
It’s a tough decision and everyone has different variables in their family that may lead them to a different choice. That’s ok.
If you keep your kids home, that’s ok. That’s your right. I hope you choose what’s best for your kids and family.
Good luck to all the parents and students out there. This year is probably going to be another rough one.
And to the Class of 2021: You can handle whatever this life throws at you! This is only a small moment of your life. And it’ll make a great story to tell future generations.
What criteria are you using to decide what your kids should do this fall? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!