I kept thinking this weekend about what I wanted to post this week on this blog. Of course, as Monday rolled around, all the ideas flew right out of my head. And so it goes.
I know that mostly I had been thinking a lot this weekend about the differences between learning and getting an education. I guess generally, it’s just been the questions that perhaps always come up around the start of the school year: how do I do my best by my kids? How do I give them the best? What does that even mean?
And it’s a hard year for that for parents and perhaps especially for those of us who have kids who are too young to be vaccinated in a world that seems very eager to return to something like the way that things were pre-Covid-19. I waffle wildly back and forth between which schooling option is the best right now for my kids; my pendulum-like swings mirroring what the school district we currently live in delivers or fails to deliver. The district is offering a virtual option? Great! Amazing! That virtual option doesn’t have a phone number to field parents’ questions? Retreat to the safety of homeschool!
I guess I have to be grateful, though, for the few years we’ve spent homeschooling. It feels very easy, at this point, to figure out, intuitively, how to help our kids with virtual school without getting in the way of their learning and their experiences.
If nothing else, much of today was spent teaching our kids ways they can advocate for themselves, but recognizing when they’ve done all they can and taking a break for their own mental health. We encourage them to write down their questions or concerns so that they are ready for them. Raising your hand and having to speak in front the whole soon feels like too much? Use the chat to get your question answered. There are a lot of zoom conversations going on that you don’t need to be a part of? I’m fine with you turning off your camera and taking a break to stretch or walk around or, honestly, just flopping down on the couch with a book or playing with your little brother.
Whatever it takes to make it through and still be able to maintain a good attitude, even if that means not participating or doing anything at all.
So, yes, I suppose that in many ways, we are still teaching them and will continue to do some this year. It might just be about things that aren’t necessarily part of an actual subject matter. We might just be teaching you how to advocate for yourself and to speak up, but also to know that you don’t have to every time. We’ve got their backs and if it comes down to it, we will drop everything in order to make sure their needs are being met, even (or maybe especially) when those needs are related to them getting the schooling and education that every kid deserves.