The Back To School Conundrum

Like every other parent across the country, I have more questions than answers regarding the 2020-2021 school year. Here’s the plan I’ve come up with for my family.

It’s August, but the hustle and bustle of back to school feels very different this year. The last time my children, ages 11 and 13, stepped inside a school building it was March. In the past five months, more than 150,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. September is a month away, and it’s bringing a new level of fear and uncertainty to every parent and teacher in the country.

Like many other school districts around the country, my local school recently made a formal announcement that all schooling will be done via remote learning until at least November. I’m glad our local school district is taking this virus seriously, but let’s be honest for a minute here, distance learning sucks.

Online school is hard! It’s hard for teachers and it’s hard for students. My 13 year old lasted exactly one week doing online school last spring before I pulled the plug – literally. There are WAY TOO MANY distractions online and my son was doing everything but getting his work done. So we took school offline, and I opted to homeschool instead.

My younger son stuck with online school through to the end of the school year, but it didn’t go very much better for him. He “forgot” to attend almost all of his class meetings, so I ended up teaching him how to do all the assignments his teacher assigned. Since I was already homeschooling his older brother, I came up with lots of supplemental school options for my younger son too.

This coming fall, both of my boys are going to do homeschool – offline, with me as their only teacher. In normal circumstances, I’m a huge fan of public school, but these are not normal circumstances. Right now school is happening at home weather we like it or not. When school happens at home, homeschool is definitely an alternative option parents need to think about.

In addition to homeschooling, I’ll also be working full time. I have a professional career that I’m able to do online. My employer has made it clear they do not want me to return to the office until their is a vaccine, so being home with my boys won’t be an issue. I am a single mom, so I won’t be able to tag out with another parent and will have to do a lot of juggling to work and teach at the same time. Fortunately, my boys are old enough that they can work independently a lot of the time – as long as that independent work isn’t online where there’s YouTube and Fortnite to distract them.

I’ve had a five month head start on figuring out workable homeschool schedules and researching curriculum. So I decided to add another task to my already busy schedule and start a blog, where I can share this research with other parents. If you’re thinking about homeschooling this fall, but don’t know where to start, stick around.

The world is changing, and school is changing with it. Welcome to New School.

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