We did it. We made it. We survived a year of remote learning. I’m talking to you. I’m talking to me. I’m talking to our kids. I’m talking to all the educators who reeled in a screen of little faces every single day and administrators who made it all work. Oh my gosh. WE MADE IT!
We Are Lucky We Had A Choice
This year has been filled with ups and downs, fear and freight, but without a doubt – success. My kids did so well, our district did SO well, and most important we all stayed healthy. We are a family who opted to keep our kids home for a full year of remote learning even though our school district offered full time in person school for elementary grades. We did this for many reasons – because we had a choice, to mitigate the risk of getting Covid-19, and because it was right for our family. We were lucky to have this choice and lucky to be able to be home.
180 Saturdays Bonus
I often think about the concept of the “940 Saturdays” one gets with their child from birth to leaving for college. A concept that I try to see embroidered on a pillow when I want to donate one of my children to science. It is a concept I thought of many, many, many times this year – but in a whole new way. I thought to myself – wow – this year was a bonus.
This year – thanks to a global pandemic – I received a bonus of 180 “Saturdays”. Days filled with walks, bike rides, grandparent visits, chats, and snuggling on the couch during lunch time. Days of afternoon hikes, weeknight sibling fort sleepovers, swing set reconfiguration, and being a fly on the wall in my kid’s classrooms.
A Reprieve From Our Normal Life
Even better – there was no buying school supplies, no screaming to get their shoes on in the morning, no racing to the bus, no packing lunch, no girl drama, no needing to buy individually wrapped anything, no waiting at the bus stop, and no rushing to doctor’s appointments. It was just – easier. We still put our kids in outdoor activities and sports (my daughter’s softball team made it to the championship!) and saw friends regularly – so there was running around, but it felt much more on our terms. It was a reprieve from our normal life.
Also Some Screaming & Crying
Of course, this year was also filled with a LOT of screaming, crying (mostly both me…), and threats of military school. But overall, we made it. We had a chance to enjoy a bizzarro time warp alternate universe warp zone and I – for one – am very grateful. I love my kids. I like my kids. I am desperately trying to raise them to be people who I want to spend time with (not just because I legally must) every day.
While Different For Each Kid, They Survived A Year Of Remote Learning!
It’s funny how different personalities come out in your kids. I think how they are raised with so many constants – same genes, same dinner conversation, same toilet paper, but they are different people, so they are – different.
My daughter – an amazing student and social butterfly – continued to be an amazing student – and social butterfly. Her academic transition was seamless but being home was hard for her. Each time she asked to go back we weighed the pros and cons and ultimately let her choose. We marveled at how involved with the school she still was and loosen as many rules as possible to make her year better. She ended her year still a straight A student, the remote 5th grade student council representative, and a kid with the most wonderful, caring, sweet, funny friends. She is counting down the days until she can step foot in the building in September.
My son is a different kid. He is smart as a whip, inquisitive, curious, calculating, but is not into school as much as his older sister. He is a social caterpillar – happy with his little group of friends – and not needing to push the envelope on anything. This year was a dream for him. He asked if he could stay remote through college. Play with toys at lunch? Sign him up. Ride his bike at recess? Best news ever. He was so happy being home – he could do school outside, and he even launched Evan’s Daily Lego Challenge. He ended the year academically fine, has great friends, a new travel baseball team, and an insatiable passion for reading.
My little one – oh Benjamin. As the third kid I did not feel pressure for him to be fluent in Mandarin by the time he could speak. He is my little lap dog. We worked on our leftover workbooks from the last decade, hung up educational posters hiding in the closet, and learned “the 3 R’s”. I was told my laissez faire attitude was his “curriculum”. He caught on quicky. Some days I found him at the table doing it on his own. But really – we focused on playing, games, gardening, finding worms, going to parks, feeding animals, taking walks, having philosophical discussions, and visiting zoos. Perhaps this curriculum could be described as my very own “Momtessori”. At his kindergarten orientation someone asked what was expected of these kids at the gate – they said nothing at all. Whoops. So, I guess he’s fine.
I’m Grateful For My Support System
This was a funny year – stuff came out about people. People showed their true colors. It was a time where you rethought everything you did and everyone you saw. That was a big deal. I am so grateful for the strong amazing group of friends I have whose bonds got even stronger. We were all in the trenches together this year (no matter where our kids sat for school) and that only made our friendships stronger.
…And We’re Done.
I cannot believe today is the last day of school. I don’t understand how an entire year flew by. I also don’t understand how it’s not still March of 2020 – yet somehow, here we are. We survived a year of remote learning! Last week my son asked if we could still do our “annual last day tradition” (hanging up a banner and greeting them with smoothies & fancy drink umbrellas). I was so touched by this. His validation of the nice memories I’m trying to create meant so much. I often think how this is their childhood, so when one looks back at childhood memories – they will look back at NOW. We’re making those childhood memories NOW. That is good Mommy payback plain and simple.
They Are Growing Up Too Quickly
I get sad thinking how quickly my kids are growing up. My littlest one just turned five. FIVE! He is going into Kindergarten in the Fall! I don’t know how that happened. My older daughter is eleven (didn’t she just turn five?). Who gave her permission to do that? My middle one is – wait. How old is he? He’s here somewhere… Poor middle kid…
So as the day begins – the last day of Pre-K, 2nd Grade, and 5th Grade – I see a (gloomy) day for which I don’t know where it’s going, but I’m hoping for the best. Much like the beginning of the year – we have tons of fun plans ahead of us, but with something completely out of our control in charge. Luckily today it’s only the weather. So I will once again hope for the best and be proud of my resilient kids for just being kids and being happy little people who see the best in everything.
We DID IT!!!! It’s Official – We Survived A Year Of Remote Learning!
…and that’s a wrap, people. School year 2020-2021 is in the books!!! Smoothies & banner tradition – check! Phew.. We’re heading to the pool.