“With the school year looming in the fall, parents are having to choose one of four options.
Honestly, I’ve never been more stressed out or anxious in my entire life. My face is breaking out. I’m not hungry anymore. I’ve cried more in the last week than I have since my dad died. I can’t sleep. I’m freaking exhausted. More exhausted than nursing newborn twins. (I think. Meh… probably not.)
What is the best decision for my family this fall when it comes to school? I’ll have five kids in school: two in kindergarten, two in first grade, and one in second grade.
Option number one: go to school.
Our district is adopting a hybrid schedule. So, my kids will be in half-class sizes two times a week with alternating every other Friday. On the days they aren’t in school, they will be watching a live steam of their classroom while their teacher teaches. Nobody really has an answer yet on how much time each day they will be required to watch. It sort of seems like it’s really up in the air still.
I’m not sure if the whole hybrid thing makes it easier or harder on working families, but thankfully, I am a stay-at-home mom. But, being a stay-at-home mom, does that make me really selfish to want to send my kids to school? Do I really want my kids sitting there all day in masks? Do I really want them to be around their friends, but then not really be able to play with them? Do I want them sequestered to their room all day for their specials, and even eating lunch in there? Is it going to be more traumatizing to actually send them to school vs. keep them home?
Option number two: distance learning through an online platform provided by the district.
Awesome! The teachers from the district who are too high risk get to teach the online platform. That sounds like a win-win!
Oh wait… ‘Students in elementary will need significant parent support to help the child log in, access materials, review content, submit assignments, etc. The child will be required to log in on time, and if they fail to do so, they will be marked absent. The district’s attendance policy still applies to the online platform. Lessons could vary each day from 1-4 hours long.’
Remember the part where I said I have five kids across three grade levels, K-2?
So, basically all I hear is, ‘Your kids will all be taught through video chats at the same time. But you’ll have to help all five of them at the same time. And, you’ll also be required to make all of them sit still through four potential hours of learning. And you’ll be required to make sure they’re all keeping on track and understanding what they’re being taught. You can’t let them get behind, so if you feel like one of your first graders isn’t understanding, or one of your kindergartners doesn’t get it, you’ll have to take all that extra time later to get them up to par. Oh you wanted to cook dinner tonight? Silly, girl! That was something you used to get to do. Online learning is your life now!’
Oh, and don’t forget my husband works full-time, and I HAVE A ONE YEAR OLD.
Can you see how that feels completely IMPOSSIBLE?! Online learning feels like it’s geared more towards families with one or two kids. It wasn’t made for families like mine. And yes, I chose to have six children. But, I didn’t choose a pandemic. Nobody did.
Option number three: pull them out and home-school them yourself.
Maybe for some people it’s a no-brainer to just pull their children and home-school them. This isn’t so black and white for me.
One of my best friends is going to be my twins’ kindergarten teacher this year. She’s a nervous wreck about the funding our district is losing by losing kids. It’s so incredibly hard for me to add to that pressure and stress. Pulling my five kids directly affects her. It directly affects all of the teachers I’ve come to adore and love.
But, I also don’t really want to pay for the pricey curriculum and be the one solely responsible for my kids’ education. THAT feels like a ton of pressure, too. What if I completely mess this up for them by playing their teacher? What if they won’t even listen to me or try to learn anything from me? I’m mom. How do I all of a sudden switch to Teacher Mom? It really freaks me out.
Option number four: join a ‘pod’ with other families.
In theory, this sounds great! The ones I’ve been able to find are requiring to pay a fellow teacher to teach all of the kids in the pod. Oh, that actually sounds like a fantastic idea! We could probably afford that… Oh wait… you need me to pay $600 a month per kid?
Well, I guess that means we’re out. I can’t afford that extra $3,000 every month.
I know this works for a lot of families, and I think it’s great! It’s just not realistic for everyone. If I could find a pod where we all just switch off as teachers one day a week, it might not actually be a bad gig. But again, pulling my kids’ funding for their district is just a really hard decision for me to pull the trigger on.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what the better crappy option is. Because they’re all crappy options.
And, I know the teachers are doing their best. They’re just as nervous for all of this craziness as I am. Most of them are parents themselves, who have to figure out what’s best for their own kids, on top of trying to figure out how to teach the kids they love during the school year.
Parents are doing their best, too. No decision is easy for anyone. The answer that works for one family is completely unfathomable to the next. This all just sucks.
Usually by this time of the year, the kids have picked out new backpacks and we have shopped for all of their back to school supplies. But, we haven’t even given that a thought yet. This time of year is usually so exciting! The promise of fun new memories from a new school year with plans to do all the fun fall related things. But, right now it just feels like there’s not much to look forward to.
To be honest, I’m just so burnt out from my kids being sent home in March. We’ve all been so cooped up, even though I’ve tried to put them in activities. I swear I have PTSD from all the craziness. And, I freaking love my kids. But, I’m honestly just like WHAT THE HECK am I supposed to do?
Godspeed parents. Godspeed. It’s going to be one heck of a marathon run towards January. But, even then, who knows what the world will be like?”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Molly Schultz of Tried and True Mama. You can follow her on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Molly:
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