By: Crystal Alba
Ahh back to school season! Buying new clothes, new backpacks, new supplies and butterflies in our bellies for a new chapter in our lives is ultimately interrupted by a curve ball!
2020 is and was filled with new plans that were not-at-all anticipated. Thus, we make due with what we have and learn virtually.
I chose to stop dwelling in what life “should” look like and began to accept what life WILL look like. We started to rearrange rooms, pick up laptops and set up our offices to our liking in the comfort of our own home. No, it is not what we expected but I believe we should look at the bright side of things and how we can make the most out of it.
Everything is circumstantial
While virtual learning has been a choice for some, others have been forced into this new entity and it’s not possible due to financial reasons, lack of resources or child care.
Others have been granted the in-person learning and for some it raises a lot of concerns and questions for family members that are high risk and will being in school spread the virus among others?
All these concerns and questions are valid because everyone’s life looks different. School in person made it easier for kids to get access to free internet, socialization and for some access to food.
While these new learning procedures take place, I’ve seen/heard negative comments and conversations about the school system taking new measures and why their kids are home or why some families chose to send their kids to school. I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of being a negative Nancy when it came to looking at the new schedule for school. But here’s the thing- I came to learn that we are all in this together and while we choose differently, we should encourage one another.
No one has the right answer. We are all doing what we can. Bottom line is, we are all figuring it out as we go along because it’s a matter of accepting to live with the virus.
Personally for me, I was a little grateful for virtual learning when it was announced as an option. A 16 week old baby with an emerging immune system raises a lot of anxiety alone… with COVID thrown in, I feel like a headless chicken. The anxiety snowball grew bigger when thinking about my 5 year old who would be going to school in person.
Of course I feel bad about her not having a “normal” school year and being able to make friends in her first year of school. However, I believe she’s safe at home where we can at least modify social outings. And she will have more outings in the future because we are keeping her safe. I understand that we are always going to be exposed in one way or another. But I think having peace of mind with a little one around has been keeping our composure. Just because we are “over” the pandemic, doesn’t mean that it’s gone.
In the beginning, I did not agree with the school schedule that was being proposed. I did not think it was realistic for a 5 year old to sit in front of a screen all day. But looking at the bright side-at least she wouldn’t have to wear a mask in school all day.
In order to make this school year work, I cut my hours down to be home with my daughter. I wanted to make sure she was getting the most out of school for her first year. I even downloaded homeschool curriculums for kindergarten in order to supplement whatever she may not be getting from school.
I am willing to do whatever it takes to give my child an opportunity to succeed but it won’t happen without help. So, negative Nancy can leave town so that we can accept this new reality we are in with school.
Life is what you make it
Yeah, virtual learning is different but it doesn’t have to suck!
Some pros that outweigh the cons:
- We can wear our PJ pants while we are in class
- We can sneak some snacks
- We can decorate our own desks
- We can mute ourselves to have a side conversation-(in my daughter’s case- is about how hungry she is)
- We can be there to support our kids even if we don’t understand the subject (sometimes emotional and moral support is more important for kids)
- WE CAN LEARN ANYWHERE THAT HAS WIFI (i.e.- mini-vaca)
We decided to do a fun road trip while we are on this new adventure for school. With me cutting down on my hours, my husband working remotely and my daughter doing virtual learning, we took our lemons and made lemonade!
I know this isn’t possible for all but I encourage you to make your own lemonade and have your own mini adventures with your kids!
Cheers to that!
Have it your way!
During the summer, I had to get creative with ideas to keep my daughter entertained. We made a list of things we wanted to learn this summer before school started. Some things I listed, some things she listed.
We made being quarantined a bonding experience rather than a time to dwell about things we couldn’t do. Yes, of course we miss the beach. Yes, we wish we were in California and Vegas like we had planned months before quarantine. BUT everything happens for a reason.
We made a routine for ourselves and even got into the groove of being motivated to learn. For instance, at the end of each day, she got a prize based on how many points were earned during our “lessons” by punching into a prize wall. Yes, that’s right, I said punching. I call this- positive reinforcement!
Some days, it looked like we didn’t have a routine as we cleaned the house together or we would watch movies and snuggle up under a fort with popcorn. As time went on, I realized that she will learn from us just being present for her. Quarantine raised a lot of anxiety for many adults who lost their jobs or needed social interaction.
Guess what? Kids also get anxiety. They just don’t show it the way we do. Most of the time- they just want you because it’s the closest to normal that they have. They want a happy you, not a worried you.
So why focus on making it how “it should be” to follow an old norm? Take advantage and make your own schedule!
Our “quarantine list”:
- Make a volcano ✅
- Learn to cook ✅
- Learn to tie shoes ✅
- Get a phone🙄
- Learn my phone number and address ✅
- Learn about the moon ✅
- Learn about my body ✅
- Make a rocketship ✅
- Why do we poop? ✅
- Count to 1,000 ✅
- Learn to add and subtract✅
- Read 100 books (We got to 90)
- Learn to read ✅
- Weave a blanket ✅
- Learn about money ✅
- Open a lemonade stand
- Get a watch
- Learn to tell time ✅
- Learn how to dance the robot ✅
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Punch Wall Credit: