The end of the school year

Yesterday was the last day of school for everyone. I was so excited (before covid) all the kids would be off for my birthday. The weekend is Memorial Day weekend! Back in January, this was an excellent time to anticipate.

I haven’t shared much how our quarantine schooling was going mainly because we were in the thick of it and some days were really hard.

We started out strong with high hopes. Sami, especially in those first few weeks spent hours on the computer, doing assignments trying to make things feel normal. We then got the message from the middle school that none of the work counted. Do the work, they said for your own edification, but you will be getting a P for pass no matter what. This was not super motivating for Sami. I understand why they did it. Not everybody has internet, not everybody has a computer. They are not set up for remote learning. I get it. It just was sucky.

Abby too did what she knew to do, although it was tricky to move the last few weeks of high school to an online format, we survived and will pick up her diploma next week.

Everett’s school already has an online platform that was widely used through the school so the transition was not as hard as the others.

Caleb did college online, used his siblings for film assignments and ended up finishing strong.

The younger three were trickier. Will’s prek class met daily at noon with songs and alphabet for a half an hour and he got a whole lot of play and let’s be honest, Jake and the Neverland pirate time.

Gg is one of those kids who learns with ease and will research bugs online for fun.

Sarabeth struggles. She is definitely a kid that thrives with other kids, gets her energy renewed by being with others. She struggled when we were actual homeschoolers and we struggled again in quarantine school.

We made it through and I think overall we did okay with what we had. With our ninja gyms shut down, track canceled and zero hangouts with friends, we had to be together. All of us.

It left me with questions.

Here are some questions that I really am pondering, maybe you’re pondering some of these things too:

1. What have we learned about technology and its uses/applications in our lives? Are we further along than we were 10 years ago in how to use it for good?

2. Do my kids know how to obtain good information? Can they discern what is real and what is fake on the internet? So many voices, so many people claiming authority and coming to different conclusions. What clues do we have to tell what is true?

3. How do we conduct a good search with the technology we have at our fingertips?

4. What is important for us to learn now in 2020? What should we add to our educational goals? What should we delete?

Many of us do not have the capability/bandwidth/time to answer these questions. In looking at next year, I don’t want to quarantine school again. Homeschooling, I could do. It has its own set of challenges, but we could learn some things that matter to us like cooking and budgeting and computer skills.

Will we do it for sure? Undetermined. Like any year, we take the needs of the kids, parents, family as a whole, look what is available, and decide what is best for that year. This year, there is a lot more factors to consider. I want things to be better for my kids, for the community, for the kids without internet, for the future.

Summer mode is on. My hopes of afternoons at the pool may not be realized this summer. Getting the kids to do summer reading, and keeping up with math skills could be an arduous journey.

We need to do something totally different for the summer.

Ideas welcome!