Well, our school district rolled out their plan yesterday for how we are going to proceed in the Fall. I will try to simplify it here.
If you aren’t comfortable sending your kids to school you have one week to sign up for online school. They will expect you to commit to that choice for an entire semester. The other option is to send your child to school (starting one week later than normal). Everyone will have daily temperature checks before entering the building and face masks will be required for staff and students. Lots of cleaning will occur. It sounds like each school is going to make their own call on how they do eating and group classes. There is no set in stone plan for dealing with a positive case of Covid 19 in the building. They will take each case as it comes and decide what is appropriate. It does say that a teacher who is required to quarantine will have to take that time from their own personal emergency sick days, and if they run out of those they will have to take unpaid time off. Doesn’t sound very fair. Also, every student is going to get a computer (and there are instructions on how to get wi-fi if you don’t have it) so that, if students get sent home for quarantining or any other reason, they will be able to continue doing school online.
I’m now going to tell you what we are doing and why.
My two high-schoolers are going to school as normal. They’re old enough to be able to handle wearing masks and if school ends up getting shut down for sickness, and they have to switch to online learning, I still want them to be doing that through their high school, not through me.
My seventh grader has asked to stay home and be homeschooled. He does not want to wear a mask all day, and he doesn’t want to be sitting in front of a computer all day. I said yes, we can homeschool because, first, he’s a laid back kid, easy to teach, and second, he’s a very good student and I am confident that I can keep him on track easily. I plan to teach him the same science subjects and history subjects that they are doing at public school so that he can easily return to public school either in January or for the next school year.
I did not give my 5th grader the option to homeschool. We have already established that we don’t work well together. He also said that he’s not interested in sitting in front of a computer all day and would prefer to be in a classroom. And he has no problem wearing a mask all day. Also, he is a very healthy, active child.
My fourth grader has also asked to go to school. Same reasons. She doesn’t mind the mask and she wants to be in a classroom. She is also a very healthy, active girl.
I did not give my 2nd grader a choice. She is going to stay home and homeschool. She has asthma, her immune system is a lot weaker than my other kids, and she goes into a complete panic any time she has to wear a mask. While online school would be an option, I feel like a 2nd grader should be doing hands-on work, not staring at a screen all day. She is also a good student that works well with me, so I’m not worried about homeschooling her.
I also did not give the kindergartner a choice, he is staying home and being homeschooled. While he could probably handle wearing a mask all day, I worry about the times that he will get sent home and have to do his work on a computer. I do not feel like computer school is appropriate for kindergarten. Again, I want him working with manipulatives, and working on his handwriting and coloring pictures and running around a lot. There is also the fact that I was already a little concerned about how he was going to do in kindergarten. He’s a dreamy kid who gets lost in his own thoughts often, not an ideal characteristic in a classroom. He’s also a smart little kid. We have already done a kindergarten curriculum at home this year because he whizzed through all my preschool stuff. He’s ready to start 1st grade level curriculum and I was afraid that he might get bored in Kindergarten. So, I’m keeping him home. Let me add that he is also a laid back kid who is easy to school.
I’m giving you all this information because I worry about moms feeling pressured both ways. Pressured to homeschool when they don’t want to. Pressured to send kids to school when they don’t want to. Pressured to make a blanket decision for the whole family, when actually, each child needs something different. Be encouraged. This year, there is no right answer for how to school your kids.
I would also encourage you to pray about it. Last night, my brain was whirling and I didn’t think I was going to get any sleep. I finally prayed, God, you love these kids, you know what’s best for them, you also want me to make the right choices for these kids. So I’m going to trust that you will give me a plan.
I woke up this morning and this was the plan that was in my head, to make an individual decision for each child depending on that child’s needs. So, happy decision making to all of you! And let’s have lots of grace for each other, as each person decides what is best for their family!