I'm not sure I'll ever truly be able to catch up here again! Does anyone even read this thing anymore?
We found out, after much anticipation, what our school district's plan is for reopening in the fall. I was on the reopening committee and the operations subcommittee and after participating in our first meeting, it began to dawn on me that this isn't the plan for our family this year.
I don't think I had cried since the beginning of the pandemic. I've been running on adrenaline, fumes and coffee keeping everything in motion for everyone and keeping everyone happy and trying to operate under a guise of normalcy for my children. We had the most wonderful vacation to Cutchogue last month, our best family vacation yet. The change of scenery and pace was very much needed.
I had looked forward to September as a return to normalcy, with Eloise going back to elementary school, Amelia and George going to preschool, and some time with Alice. Maybe even some free time for myself? Once we made the decision to homeschool, it felt like a gut punch that what I thought would be the light at the end of this five-month tunnel is actually another hard thing to figure out.
I realize each family's situation and needs are different, and I respect each family making their own decisions about education this year. We are fortunate to be in a position where we CAN make this decision. Although living on one income in our area has been not been easy through the years, it has afforded us to live the lifestyle we want for ourselves and our kids, and I'm so glad we've stuck to our guns.
It's funny because for whatever reason, I've followed a woman on social media for years who has homeschooled her kids using the very methodology that I will be doing (Charlotte Mason). On and off over the years I've done a decent amount of reading and research on Charlotte Mason because I love learning, love teaching, love being home, love being with my kids. So maybe that served as preparation in some way for this time. Heck, maybe this will be more than a year-long patch job for us. (Although I hope not.)
Even Nick, who has generally not been in favor of homeschooling until these newest developments, is beginning to see the multitude of benefits it will afford us. Less hectic mornings...we can start the day when we want rather than rip babies out of beds to get everyone to the 8am bus in rain or shine. Flexibility--we can homeschool from anywhere. Shorter, much more efficient school days...everything I'm reading indicates we can get through our lessons in about 2-3 hours each morning, with the rest of the day for free play, arts and crafts, and physical activity.
When I heard the word "plexiglass shield" on our call the other day I shut down. Masks, shields, overwhelmed educators, no lunch or recess...this isn't the environment I want for my kids. I know everyone will try their best, but I can't imagine how much learning can happen in an inhibited environment driven by fear and regulations.
It kills me because I have put my all into giving my children a happy, free childhood and I have no control over whether this pandemic defines some of their childhood. Which is more reason to take a more active stance in their education.
It's funny because after the birth of Alice, our last baby, I had a vision for what the next phase of life would look like. I had started to become involved in the school, was going to be on the HSA board this year, signed up for class mom, the whole thing. Pre-pandemic my parents were helping me out more so I could volunteer in the lunch room, etc.
I envisioned more date nights, more babysitters, more time out of the house. More recreation. I was so looking forward to having more time to write, exercise, and pick up individual pursuits. There are some freelance editorial projects that might be coming my way, so I'd have time to actually work on them instead of squeezing them in during naptime and at night after the kids are in bed.
What actually seems to be happening is we will be more homebound than ever. I'm trying to not look at this like defeat, or like a permanent situation, although I admit my attitude has been one of the biggest obstacles lately.
But until the world returns to a more normal place, or at least one that I can accept for my kids, I plan to hold them close, teach them well, and love them harder.
A homeschooling mom of four...life is surprising!