Homeschooling - not something I ever thought my kids would experience. However, enter Covid and our whole world has shifted. Homeschooling is the new normal. As I sit here at the end of this school year I reflect back on this past school year I am very intrigued at how things have played out.
My kids have always loved learning and school was a fun place for them (even though there were many mornings I would wake them up and they would fight because they wanted to stay in bed, but what kid doesn't put up a fight in the morning before school?). We are fortunate that they are in a wonderful school and have fabulous teachers that make learning so much fun for them, so really, they do love going to school.
In March we were given the order to stay home which meant the kids had to begin remote learning. I'd have to be honest, they had mixed emotions as did I. While the idea of staying home was very exciting to them (the kids were thinking "WOOHOO! SNOW DAY?") It also became something that I know was frustrating for them as well as us. After all, now their parents were also their teachers and reaction they wouldn't normally have with their teachers about lessons we were finding them having with us. (Like telling us they didn't feel like having school and flat out refusing to work, and I am sure we weren't the only parents experiencing this).
The question was how do we continue to ensure our kids are getting the best education they can and learning everything they need to be learning? I mean, we are by no means teachers and let's be honest, the stuff we learned in school is very different from what and how they are learning now. It was a little rough at first. We received emails from their teachers every day with assignments. I had to make sure to check emails every evening and print out anything that was on the plan for the following day. While my kids are both in first grade they have different teachers which resulted in different ways of receiving work and slightly different assignments. We were also getting assignments from all the specials teachers as well (Gym, Art, Music, Library). It was all a bit overwhelming. Trying to keep track of what we sent in and what still outstanding was a bit crazy. But it was the only way to proceed with learning until we knew when they would be heading back.
About 2 weeks in, the teachers decided to start using Google Classroom. What an amazing thing! (obviously they didn't have google classroom when I was a kid so I thought it was such a cool way to learn!) It made keeping up with school work easier. We were able to keep everything in one place. Google Meets became the new way for the kids to see their classmates. Attendance was taken via a check in form that got sent directly to the school district (something my husband took charge of every morning). It was such a surreal experience for us.
I know that my kids definitely struggled a bit with the idea of homeschool. While at first they were excited about staying home, it quickly became an annoyance. They missed their classmates. [My son told me one night before going to bed that he missed "real school" (as he called) it because he missed being with his friends. "homeschool was boring because there was only one student in class" (his sister)]. They were getting frustrated and fought back when it came to doing schoolwork. Somedays it was a struggle to even get them to do the simplest of tasks for school. I know that we were not alone in this. All parents were now thrown into the job of teacher as well as parent, most while still continuing their regular jobs as well. It was quite a lot to handle and I give a lot of credit to the parents who had to do both jobs. I do also give the teachers credit as well for adapting so seamlessly to this new way of learning and helping us all stay on top of the school work our children needed to do to ensure they could succeed.
We were very fortunate in our house. As I have mentioned in past posts, my mother-in-law was staying with us during most of quarantine. She was able to jump in and help with the school work while my husband and I continued to do what work we could from home. I will be honest, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders knowing I could focus most of my time on my work and know they kids were still staying on top of their school work.
My kids were only in first grade so for us school work was not so bad but the teachers did make sure to keep them busy pretty much all day 5 days a week. I mean as many times as I would find myself saying "Don't they know we all still have jobs to do? How can they send so much work?" I also knew that they were doing their jobs and the work they was being sent home was work they would have normally been doing in school. I tried not to get frustrated because we were all doing our best to stay normal in a time when things aren't normal.
Overall the experience was interesting. We learned a lot and eventually got the hang of everything to make the learning experience for them as seamless as possible. Now we break for summer vacation. A different kind of summer vacation because we have no plans at the moment. It will be interesting to see how things pan out come September. Will we be back at a normal school routine? Will we be homeschooling again? Will we be a hybrid of both? Only time will tell. Until then we will try to enjoy our summer and make the most of what we can. HAVE A WONDERFUL SUMMER EVERYONE!