“THERE’S ONLY SO MUCH WE CAN CONTROL.”
And I think to make it really big, like we did in the summer. Our son practically went out at night, stayed up late to play with his friends, and we couldn't resist. In other respects, however, we argued that we did not visit friends whom we thought were not a great idea. I would say that being satisfied with the idea of flying is the most difficult part of parenting in a pandemic, but there is only so much we can control. If we can deal with the little things, making a big decision will make it a little easier.
A SELF-DIRECTED APPROACH
Our daughter will go to first grade. Last school year, when we switched to distance learning, I ran and bought all the organizational stuff in the Container Shop - all the items in a neat little house - and put it down in front of the computer and offered it to him. This year we are using a much more montessori and self-centered approach. We hope to be in class with the teacher at least three days a week; other days I prepare things like math puzzles or read words and let her do what she cares about when she cares.
“INTERACTIVE TOYS WILL BE A WELCOMED BREAK FROM SCREEN TIME.”
I have adapted the way I communicate with her about things and am more sensitive to explaining things. Just like in a farmers market, where we count changes or play a rhyming bingo machine as we drive, things I never thought we could do before. Our biggest investment in school this year is a good printer that actually works - all those crazy worksheets in elementary school! We also invest in far more toys to counteract vibrations, such as the Nugget or home climbing gear. We all had a severe fever in the cabin last spring and the kids didn't have the right tools to move their bodies.
“WE DECIDED TO DEVELOP A LOOSE SCHEDULE, MODELED OFF THE WORK PERIODS IN MONTESSORI.”
When we look to the new school year, we are afraid of the possibility but from afar. If we had a choice, we would choose a remote control over a personal approach, but we are concerned about how interesting and effective distance learning will be for our third grade and freshman. How will teachers with one child, who can be easily drawn, and another with performance well above grades, will be able to meet their unique off-screen needs with 25+ other children? Although we don't know the schedule yet, most schools seem to plan synchronous education for much of the day, which is unlikely, especially for younger children.
In addition, we are concerned about their social development. The oldest of us has no social pressure on her, which she provides to her younger siblings. Our new first grade will be at school; I can't imagine how difficult it will be to make a friendship at a distance. We firmly believe that the health of children and teachers comes first, but in the end we know that distance learning will be to the detriment of children. We will do our best and hope for the best.
CREATING ACCESSIBLE SPACES
Knowing that they will be taking video call lessons, I have set up usable workstations for them in the hope that they will be more active and focused if they feel comfortable. I also tried to create additional spaces suitable for schoolwork and crafts in different areas of our living space, so that they could change the scenery if necessary. This requires the supply of power cords, extension cords, and all wireless devices.
DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP TOO MUCH
One of the most important things I learned about myself during this pandemic was to replace a poor teacher. Frankly, I'm also a poor substitute for an alternative. My efforts to teach my five-year-old to read in recent months - visual cards, Bob's books, phonemes to build phonemic awareness - have been scattered and have had little effect. I'm afraid I accidentally taught her to hate reading. However, my wife assures me that I am doing a great job. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to see a forest pandemic for trees.
So for anyone who said "Slow down" or "Lower your expectations" or "Don't worry too much," I say amen. Back in March, still in memories of closing schools, we did all that others did. We wrote plans, swapped shifts, hoping everything would return to normal in the fall. And of course we played.
“THE SCREEN IS OUR BEST FRIEND AND OUR WORST ENEMY.”
My wife and I basically threw in a towel for any work during the day without sticking to the screen in front of our five or three year old children - or both. The screen is our best friend and our worst enemy. It is alpha and omega. I read the research and walked through essays about other parents who are worried about their children turning into zombies. However, there are parents who are dealing with much more pressing issues, so I want to keep that in mind as my sons are playing hits in the next YouTube video about Ryan 's life. (I hate fucking the guy.)