As a mom of 4 school-aged children, this year’s back to school is like no other. Virtual school is new for many households. I’m sure many parents are feeling that sting of trying to take into account multiple factors (working, schooling, living).
I, however, have yet another obstacle to conquer. I’m also a teacher/librarian. Birmingham Teacher/Mom Kayla E. said it best, “When people ask me how I feel about school beginning virtually, it’s hard to pin down the right response.” So while ensuring that my own kids are focused and doing what they’re supposed to be doing, I’m also responsible for making sure that my students get a quality virtual education as well. While I am definitely pro- Supt. J. Ray, and agree with the decision he made to start the school year virtually, this does put me in bit of a pickle.
(But I would rather be in a pickle than in a petri dish.)
This school year, my oldest will be entering 7th grade, the twins will be in 3rd grade, and the boss-child will be entering 2nd grade. (My daughter is an exact replica of Diane from Black-ish.)
Do I know 7th grade curriculum stuff? Maybe…Well I should. What about 3rd grade math? Surely, as long as it’s not that weird math they’ve been doing lately. And what about 2nd grade? Those cheesy stories are sure to be the death of me. But the curriculum and what they will learn are honestly not my major concern. I know that SCS already has the curriculum ready to roll. Plus, many teachers have been working since early May to learn how to give effective virtual instruction.
So what does concern me the most? It's the logistics of everything! I’m not worried about my middle schooler at all. He the most responsible child I know. He will do what he’s suppose to do, when he’s suppose to do it, and he will do all of that to the best of his ability.
But those twins. Nah Mane!
I could make sure they’re logged on to their virtual school platform and leave them to learn in their rooms ONLY to get an email from their teacher/my colleague that they can see them playing with legos in the background. Furthermore, I already know that my 2nd grader has the instructional endurance of a gnat. Mainly because she feels like she knows it all. (She is 6 yrs old and starting the 2nd grade, so maybe she is a little smart.)
Here are the things I'm really concerned about:
Where can I effectively put everyone so they can have the best at-home, virtual learning environment?
Where will I keep all these school supplies?
How can I fix lunch and teach my students at the same time?
Will the Pandemic EBT continue?
What happens if the internet goes out?
Can our internet actually handle 4 laptops PLUS the tvs, iPads, and phones that are already connected?
How will I be able to function without a midday nap?
Am I going to get headaches again from looking at the laptop too long like I did from March to May?
Will my kids have ill effects from virtual learning too?
If I’m in the middle of a lesson, but my personal child needs help, what do I do?
I have so many questions about how to navigate virtual school for my family, but not enough answers. Here’s what I do know:
My oldest wants to be left in his room. No surprise there. I plan on the twins each learning in their bedrooms, and just pray for the best. My little girl will be at the dining room table. I must keep an eye on her.
It’s going to be difficult being the kids’ educational facilitator while maintaining my own full-time work schedule. I had plans to hire a college kid, but those plans fell through. Plus, this blue-collar family of 6 can only afford to pay so much. So, in true mom form, I will be putting on multiple hats!
I have less than 2 weeks to get my family ready for virtual learning. Bedtimes are now in place, meal plans have been made, and the kids practice “virtual learning” 2-3 days a week. But I feel in my gut that the preparations we have in place may not be enough for them. If I’m being honest, sometimes I wonder if my love for my job overshadows my primary duty as a mom. It would sure be easier to be a stay-at-home mom right now. Even when we had the option to choose for our kids to learn in-person or virtually, my husband and I felt that virtual would be best. We had even looked into Homeschooling an option. But I love my job. And it makes me happy. So there’s that.
Well, I start work on the 24th and the kids start their virtual school on the 31st.