Last week we had to decide if we were sending our kids back to school for the first 9 weeks or keeping them home. It was a big decision and took a lot of time to make. I had to reach deep into my heart and separate panic from reason. We discussed it in length, the pros and the cons of both options. Then, we laid out the facts to the boys. They’re 9 and 7 and have a good understanding of what’s going on. We told them their choices were to:
- Go back to school for a week and two weeks at home in rotation for 9 weeks
- Stay at home for 9 weeks continuing school online
We explained that Option 1 included wearing a mask all day at school, keeping 6 feet apart from teachers and other students, that only one kid could do a “work” at a time (Montessori lingo), washing hands and cleaning items would happen regularly, there would be lots of hand sanitizing, and I wasn’t sure that “Specials” would be happening. They also would not know who would be in their class that day as only 1/3 of the class could be there at a time and we don’t know who was opting into what. Then, they would be home doing online work the other two weeks and then go back to repeat the cycle.
We told them that the pluses to this would be that they could do hands on Montessori works again, they’d get to see their teachers and some of their friends, and they’d get out of the house.
We explained that Option 2 would be like it was in the spring. They would have the same schedule they’d had then, but they’d not go to the school at all. We also explained that with the fully online we could continue to have socially distant play dates at the beach with other families that chose that same option.
This is something we’ve been doing for a few weeks early in the morning before crowds arrive at the beach. We go for 2 hours and let the kids run in and out of the water and we stay a good distance from our friends. I have felt “okay” about doing this because we’re not in anyone else’s house and we’ve all been doing the same amount of social distancing this entire time. We all have the same values and the same fears. We’re all following the guidelines set by our Governor and we’re not being cavalier.
Not surprisingly to me, the boys chose Option 2. My kids miss being in school and they miss their friends and Montessori learning. However, they know the importance of fighting the good fight. They also hate wearing masks and didn’t feel they could do it for 7 hours a day, 5 days in a row. They also liked the idea of consistency. They don’t have to figure out if they’re going to school or staying home. It’s going to be a (now) familiar routine.
We will not home school our kids forever; it’s not what they or we want. I want them to get back to their school, when it’s safer to do so, when the numbers in our state are not climbing. Until then, they’re doing their part to help flatten the curve by staying home.
Now…..I have to figure out what to do about my work as a college lecturer.
How are you feeling about school?
What big decisions are you making during this pandemic?