The school in our neighboring town just shut down for a few weeks. That means we are next. We heard the news on the radio the other morning as I was driving my kids to school and we all looked at each other. My daughter reminded me the last time they said we schools were shutting down for a few weeks, we didn’t go back.
Having three school-aged kids at home, I could see how differently they all adjusted to online learning. At first they were happy to be home. Then, two of my kids started to struggle and fall behind. Another one became so overwhelmed looking at their assignments every morning I had to give them a pep talk in order to have them take a second look at their assignment. It’s as if they shut down every morning and I had to pick them up just to get them to try.
My boys couldn’t keep up and one of them came very close to not moving on to the next grade. The relentless fight we had about them getting their work done made me feel sad, tired, and angry.
I didn’t know how to get through them being home, helping them, while working from home full time. We slowly adjusted and things seemed to smooth out as we fell into a routine and stated new traditions.
After nearly a year of remote learning when the schools reopened last winter, I sent two of my three kids back. I let my daughter continue online learning because her self esteem was boosted. Her mental health was a lot better than it was while she was in school.
Now she’s back in school and is struggling. She had panic attacks before the year started, and I got texts letting me know how alone she felt. She’d lost touch with a lot of friends and many of them had transferred schools or their parents decided to homeschool them. Needless to say, she adjusted over time. Now she’s happy and has made new friends.
But the news of another shutdown has them worried all over again. Will they be able to go back this year? Are they going to lose touch with their friends and not be able to socialize all over again? Is doing school work from home going to overwhelm them again? Are they going to slip through the cracks and are we going to fight constantly about getting work done?
It’s all too much. Yes, I know that kids are resilient and have adjusted before and can do it again. But nearly two years in and we’re all maxed out. We’re (really, truly) at our breaking points.
There’s no resolution here, but a question: How are we going to do this again?