School’s Out for Summer!

June 4, 2020

It’s very anticlimactic to end the school year with a zoom. Nice job kiddos, off you go! Our old lives would be full of festivities and we’d be launched into a summer of all sorts of camps, sporting games and activities. Instead we spent 7ish months living a life we’ve always known, and the last 3ish months in this situation of pausing life. Pausing everything we’ve ever known about March through June. And as much as things are starting to open up and develop new systems for the current state, it’s still embarking on all new territory – a completely unfamiliar new world.

I may be the only parent to say this but I liked e-learning. Don’t get me wrong, there were nonstop arguments in my house, frustration over the details, and major difficulty navigating this new schedule. I liked being involved in my kids’ learning from a perspective I never have before. I liked that my 1st grader was referring to a lesson I gave him when we were reading a bedtime story and I knew how to compound onto it from what we’d worked on in school. I realize that I could have done a better job following along in our normal life. But our normal life was moving so fast, I always felt one to two steps behind.

Tomorrow starts the next chapter of this Coronavirus 2020 lifestyle. And as much as it was an uncertain feeling when this started in March, we were lucky enough to be guided by the school system. For better or worse, they set the tone with an abundance of expectations – zoom calls, videos to watch and homework to submit. Now that it’s all over, where does that leave us?

Teachers provided links to apps that are still available in the summer time. There are tons of online resources for scavenger hunts and games that you can seek out. All of this is fine and dandy but it’s different than an obligation that you and your children are bound to. First of all, my kids are different ages and genders. What works for my 7 year old, most certainly does not for my 12 year old. Have I mentioned that my 12 year old believes that the end of school means that he has his entire summer of freedom ahead. It’s not for lack of conversation about schedules and boundaries. Yet he still exists in this world where summer means something different than Coronavirus 2020 part 2.

Regardless of how your e-learning experience was (and despite my positive attitude for it, there was still a ton of fighting and trouble navigating it), there were clear defined activities that I felt focused and pressured to complete (no surprise I’m type A). And now what is there? Mom guilt to keep them active in a productive way all day? Time to get on the computer and do some of the apps the teachers recommended? I just finished fighting with my kids about e-learning just to go back and do the non-mandatory assignments? I don’t think so.

There are revised camp options. But what normally becomes long days full of playing outside and complete exhaustion at the end of these warm days, are turning into a couple of hours of revised play (no pools, social distance activities, etc.). What does that mean for the next few months?

When we first embarked on e-learning in March, it was filled with uncertainty and concerns. It all worked out. It may not have been the experience we all dreamed of but we survived and we’re now on the other end of it. The same will hold true for the summer, regardless if you have an inflatable pool or not. I’m not sure we’ll get in all the school apps I dream of. I’m pretty sure I may lose my voice from yelling at my monsters time and again. If I hear “Mom!!! He/She is bothering me” one more time, I’m going to lose it – however, it’s time to accept that it’s officially lost and go with it. These are unusual circumstances and our best bet is to put our best foot forward, embrace the uncertainty and try to have fun. At least that’s my attitude on the last day of school…

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