It is so hard to explain how I feel about the kids returning back to school in the middle of a pandemic. The reality is, I’m not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I know they miss the social interactions with their friends. My 3rd grader misses painting with his friends and making tons of beautiful noise with drums. He misses laughing at lunch, running at recess, and choosing books in the library with his classmates. On the other hand, I know that COVID is still very real. So we’ve decided to keep them home to participate in virtual learning. Even though my son is really missing his friends and school, we feel that keeping them home is the best decision right now.
Since March, this pandemic has changed life so much. We have witnessed its effect on families and communities including our own. We have experienced deaths where we could not mourn as a family. I never thought there would be a time where funerals would include slideshows on Zoom or sitting in the car as we watch our loved ones grieve at burial sites. We have postponed weddings and celebrations that we are usually looking forward to celebrating together as a family. Family members and friends have given birth to little ones and we have yet to hold them. We are watching them grow up so fast through video calls but there’s nothing like physical touch and the bond it creates. School graduations have been altered. Even though we’ve managed to make the best of them, nothing beats walking across the stage as your family cheers for you. There are so many changes and so many uncertainties and no one knows this pandemic’s lasting effects on everyday life just yet.
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Schools are doing the very best they can under the present circumstances. Unfortunately, the reality is, any decision made will not serve all parents and students. There is no way to meet the needs of all parents and all students because we all require something different. There are students that have to go to school because their parents work outside of the home. There are students who are staying home to learn virtually because they have an at-home parent that is able to help them through their virtual learning. There are students with special needs that may need to go to school because of the resources available to them. There are students whose parent is able to homeschool them. There are parents, like myself, whose students are staying home to participate in virtual learning but they are also working from home so there’s a juggle. We all have different needs and different perspectives but we all want our children to be safe and healthy.
You are doing the very best you can under the present circumstances. The reality is, you are making a decision based on the needs of your family in the midst of so many uncertainties. The balance scale may weigh heavier on one side but please give yourself some grace. I’ve read so many posts and have received messages from moms who feel so bad about the decision they have to make. There are some parents that work outside of the home that would love to take advantage of virtual learning for their child but they just can’t. There are parents whose children are staying home for virtual learning but the parents are nervous about whether or not they will be able to help their children with schoolwork. There are parents who are preparing to transition their children to a homeschool curriculum and are aware that it is an adjustment for them all. We all have different needs and different perspectives but we all want our children to be safe and healthy. Yes, I know I said that already. I’m making a point here.
How can we as moms make a difference? Let’s be kind. We may not know what the “right” thing to do is overall but we are all making the best decisions we can for our families. The stress and anxiety behind sending them to school, keeping them home, not knowing how to help them with Math, or transitioning to homeschool, while still keeping them safe and healthy, are on all of our minds. Also, keep in mind that our children may be experiencing anxiety from these changes as well. It is important that we give grace to everyone because the right thing is to do is to be kind. Understand that a loving parent is making decisions based on the needs of their family and those decisions are not always easy.
Commit to being kind and supportive. Commit to listening with compassion and understanding. Commit to educating and not judging. Let’s commit to helping each other through these uncertainties while comforting our children and being examples of love, patience, and resiliency.