As many Midlands districts head back to school, some fully virtual and others a hybrid, we are all adjusting to a new learning format.
In our district, we are doing a hybrid plan for school – two in-person days and three e-learning days. I’m lucky, I suppose, that I can work from home while they are e-learning. I gotta tell you though, I don’t feel lucky. I am stressed and overwhelmed. I have three elementary aged kids each with what feels like a full day of classwork. They think they can learn independently and do it all. I know they can’t, at least not entirely.
We are all learning this new way of doing things at lightning speed – parents, students, and teachers. The things I thought would work, are not working.
I thought having them do their school work near me while I worked would be helpful. It’s not. It is entirely too distracting for all of us.
I thought setting up work stations in my older kids’ rooms would give all of us space and the ability to focus. I was wrong. They get lonely and want to use each other as references.
I thought I could stop my work and just focus on their school work simultaneously. Compartmentalization! That really isn’t possible either, because they all need help getting set up and going. And what do they do while I’m helping a sibling? There is only so much independent reading any of them are willing to do. If I truly did this, there would never be enough hours in the day. We still have to eat and sleep.
Explaining that this work is not optional like the spring was, and absolutely matters and must be done, brings all of us to tears. It is a lot. None of us want to do school this way. It doesn’t feel right.
In the meantime we are learning.
We are learning to breathe. Taking breaks – even yes, to play a video game for 15 minutes – is essential to our mental health.
We are learning time management skills. This is an important life skill, and one they will not regret learning, even if we regret how we learned it. I mean, nobody is glad it took a pandemic to figure anything out.
We are learning about different learning platforms and how to use the computer to do assignments. I have two on Google Classrooom and one on Seesaw. Plus there is paper homework that comes home. So organization is another import skill to come from this.
We are learning more about what each of us is capable of, and where our individual limits are. I’ve learned I cannot do it all. My personal ice cream limit is one pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
For all the other parents out there navigating this new e-learning thing, you probably have said, or been told “you got this!” If you are a working parent, or maybe a stay-at-home parent juggling multiple kids, if your gut response to that supposedly uplifting sentiment is “I don’t got this,” you are far from alone. We all have questions. We all have moments, or even whole days, where we have no clue what we are doing.
I wish I had words of wisdom or advice to offer, but all I can really tell you is that you are not alone. We may not have this under control, but we are in it together, and together we will get through it. Or at least through the next pint of Ben and Jerry’s.