Congratulations! If you have made it this far in homeschooling where you have not had to have a drink every night, had a nervous breakdown, or just given up, I applaud you! It is tough out there, folks. I am not even homeschooling my sons (their babysitter is) but feel the angst. I have two sons; one son who is autistic in a separate setting with other autistic children and in 4th grade and the other, neurotypical and just started kindergarten. I KNEW I could not handle doing my job and homeschooling two children. I am not going to lie, at first, I was very angry at my district’s decision to not allow in person school to resume this fall but with all these child cases of Co-vid 19 on the rise, quickly changed my mind. However, there needed to be more planning behind this decision to do virtual school. Last year when they decided to do virtual learning, I expected for it to be disorganized and thrown together because of the impromptu decision to close school. But I had higher expectations this time around since the district had since March to plan for this virtual learning endeavor. With one of my sons being special needs, I made sure to inquire way before school started about what supportive services (speech, OT) would look like for him and how they planned to integrate him into virtual learning. I had a lot of concerns; A LOT. However, what helps with my anxiety is taking action to gather information and plan accordingly. I had many conversations with his teacher throughout the summer and we devised a game plan. Although, I am still patiently waiting for other parts of the plan to come to fruition, I feel good, nonetheless. I expected things to be far messier with my special need’s son transition into virtual learning but to my surprise, it has been smooth sailing with just a few hiccups. My other son, on the other hand, has been having quite a time adjusting to being in front of a computer all day. He just turned 5 in May so he is a younger Kinder and therefore, still has issues with sitting still and paying attention. But that has not been the MAJOR issue, the real issue is his teacher. Lord knows, I am not the easiest parent; fierce advocate of my children, no holds barred type of mom who is ready to bring that mama bear out at any time. However, I have pleasantly surprised by how patient I have been with his teacher despite her condescending manner towards me. Setting my younger child up with all the online programs with her assistance has been pure HELL. No lies. It is a process that took way longer than it needed to take because of poor communication and her inability to understand where I was coming from. I often joked about it on social media but was truly concerned that things may come to a head between us. Luckily, everything has worked itself out short of me just losing it on her, lol. I just think we communicate very differently and that are communication styles are not a good fit. She is a nice person, don’t get me wrong but where she is very abstract; I am very concrete. I want step by step instructions that are specific and address my needs and she is kind of flighty and all over the place. So, there has been a lot of redirection on my part and when I took a step back to realize our inability to communicate was not intentional, I was able to make more headway. Even though, I still have concerns about if my 5-year-old can remain intellectually stimulated throughout the day with 100% virtual learning, it is what it is. I would rather virtual learning and my child remains healthy and intact, than hybrid or in person learning and I have to worry every day about a Corona outbreak at school. I also don’t have to worry about my older, autistic son tearing off his mask and getting constant calls from the school about it or him leaving his spit on surfaces (which he sometimes does). So, when taking all these factors into consideration, I would give my virtual school experience a C+ and this is only because I don’t have to do this myself. If I had to, I am sure like some other parents, this experience would get a far lower grade. From what my children’s babysitter tells me between the lags with Zoom and other technical difficulties, the conflicting class schedules for the two different grades, and the impromptu all day teacher’s training which leave the poor parents to fend for themselves, it is something less to be desired. But we do the best we can with what we got…. Hopefully, our children will not suffer for it.
I hope you enjoyed this recent blog. Writing about this and other stuff is very therapeutic for me and I have noticed that I have been in the mood to write a lot more. To all you tired and stressed out parents, you are in my thoughts. I hope you make it through this semester, unscathed and intact.
Love and light,