Students and Schools

I have a sophmore and a senior. We’ve been doing our very best in how we deal with non-traditional schooling. We recently learned that our city will be offering hybrid classes beginning in April. I am the type of parent who seeks to hear from both my children when it comes to making a decision on their needs and desires. Both my children have elected to remain in full non-traditional schooling. Part of this decision makes me sad.

My son will be graduating this year and yet doesn’t want to attend in classroom participation. We’ve talked about it in depth. Let’s get some truths out of the way. School is mandatory, all parents know this. The children do as well, for the most part. They balance this mandatory ‘prison-sentence’ with the knowledge that at least they get to see their friends, have some kind of social life, and get out of the house in a manner that is, to some (hopeful) degree, safe. However, when my children do return to school in person, due to safety concerns, the changes that are being put in place is removing much of the balance portion for these teens. They will not have a social life because they aren’t allowed to sit near their friends. And I totally understand this! I’m glad the schools take the safety to heart. Yet. even if they were able to socialize, the friends my children have will be attending school on alternate days, so they wouldn’t be able to see them anyway. (Due to last names being on different sides of the alphabet.)

So what exactly would be the desire to return to an institution (one which, in my opinion, is so outdated) for a teenager to make the decision to return. If they can do this from the safety and security of their home, why not? I’m fortunate that my children are capable of getting themselves up and logging in every day. They do their very best, though grades have suffered, but I don’t believe it’s entirely their fault. Teachers are doing the best they can, most are, anyhow, but if teaching 25-30 students IN a classroom, who learn differently and are on various levels, is difficult, I can only imagine what it’s like for them doing it online. I’m also fortunate that I am home most mornings to oversee they are getting their work done. I’m fortunate that they are old enough that I do not need childcare. Believe me, I know all the blessings I’ve received.

I can’t imagine those parents who have to make such a decision as to send their children back to school because they have to work, or can’t afford daycare, or even those children who are suffering immensely from online education. And so very many are. What those parents are going through, my heart goes out to you.

There is no win-win out of any of the options out there. Schools open and people suffer, possibly with their health or the health of their family members due to the risk of COVID. Schools stay closed and families suffer, children’s education suffers. There is just no good solution that will fit every single family comfortably into a perfect place.

The mental, emotional, and physical stress it’s taking out on everybody is horrific. I work daily with children and teens who were A students and are failing miserably and they are taking this very personal. The anxiety and stress they are under is not making it any better. And come on, who hasn’t gained weight over the last year? It’s just not healthy any way you see it.

I sigh. I cry. My heart aches. My son is graduating this year and he hasn’t even elected to buy his graduation cap and gown. If he does walk, he will be walking alone, because of all the social distancing. If he doesn’t, he will miss out on the experience of it all.

I realize I’ve been kind of all over the place in this post. I do apologize. It’s chaos. Just like our lives. Seems fitting though. I just wanted to be a mom, out here, sharing my feelings. Hopefully to let other parents know they aren’t alone in much of their feelings and thoughts.

Thanks for reading!

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