Back to School Blues

I cannot believe the Back to School Season is practically here! 

Don’t you remember the back to school season for us?! It’s a fond childhood memory. Getting your fall shopping in, the fresh crisp smell of fall in the air and of course the sorrow of an event filled summer ending as well. The summer of 2020 does not have anything like this at play for our kids and it’s just so sad! 

If you haven’t read my previous posts I have two sons. Gabriel is 4 and Lorenzo is 2. Gabriel will be 5 and Lorenzo will be 3 in September which is the back to school month here in Philly! Gabriel did almost a full academic year of preschool/pre-k 3. We started him in early June of last year and he did two back to back full days a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Fridays I have off from work in the summer so those are my cherished family days. Putting my eldest in summer preschool part time really helped with his first official day of preschool, full time, back in September. I feel so fortunate to have started him a little earlier especially since the school year was cut off short in March. 

Now here we are in July and like most moms, I don’t know what to do about school for this upcoming year. Questions I’ve pondered so far:

  • Can I really homeschool?
  • Is my child really at great risk for his health if he goes back on a hybrid schedule?
  • Am I terrible mom for thinking I NEED him to go back to school?
  • Will he fall behind if he skips a year?
  • Can I really continue to balance my own work schedule and be a teacher at the same time?
  • Will my son thrive educationally at home?
  • Can I really turn off this TV more than I do now? (which isn’t enough right now, sigh).
  • And so much more!!

In addition to my son being in pre-K I have a whole other child to worry about. My 2, soon to be 3 year old, Lorenzo. I was really excited to have him take a similar path as his brother, by starting daycare when he turned 3. The only relief I can seem to identify at this time is not having to undertake another expense. I would prefer to invest in my child’s education regardless, but we know how expensive school is.

I know I can’t grieve this forever and will need to make quick decisions soon. I also am a believer that atleast for preschool aged children that they can get by with playing as their main form of learning and most importantly, my kids still have each other for social interaction. As I sit with all of these questions and my mom anxiety, I was also asked to consider the following from my son’s school:

  1. Would you be planning on sending your child in with a mask?  
  2. Does your child know how to wear a mask?
  3. What does a safe drop off and pick up procedure look like to you?
  4. Are there any changes that you would like to see made in the day care environment?
  5. Please tell us about any other comments or concerns that you may have.

I appreciate being asked these questions. I’m not going to lie though, I wonder whether or not my response will really be taken into consideration. I am dealing with a very large school district and in some respect I may be just a number. Our city has already made decisions about the immediate future that don’t seem so flexible. However, at the end of the day, I will not allow my children in an environment that I don’t feel is safe or that I feel they will be unable to thrive in. That said,  I hope my responses to the above questions help other moms who are having a battle of the brain as well over all of this. 

If I decided to send my child to school, I would send them in with a mask. 

My child does know how to wear a mask, but so far does not like to wear them for a long period of time. 

What do I think could be an ideal scenario for my family would be the following:

  • A hybrid schedule with small cohorts of children in the classroom
  • The ability to communicate with parents of those in my child’s cohort
  • Allow for outdoor classroom time when the weather permits
  • Only allow children in rooms with windows open
  • Have each child hand sanitize upon entrance, sign in;  and then have them wash hands before playing with shared toys
  • Temperature checks upon entrance 
  • Weekly parent check-ins
  • I would like to see hand sanitizing stations at the entrance point of every room!
  • Lastly, I would be for a mandatory mask requirement. I know if my son sees everyone else doing it, he will comply. Similar with his potty training and the start or preschool. He started to go everyday when he saw all his peers doing it.

Is this reasonable? Is it not enough? Is it too much? 

For those who have been following me, I am a working mom. I work until 6 everyday and I’m busy! My husband also works. Who is supposed to homeschool our children while we work? I know there are many others in the same predicament as me. Again, I feel like I’ve lucked out since my kids are so young and can swing it. But what about me as their mom? Can I swing it?

I know I’m not alone with my thoughts here. We’re all in this together. I have my parents not too far away from me, but Covid is so darn tricky, can I, or should I, even utilize their support. My mother takes care of my aging grandmother of 85 years of age. Should she be exposed to my children and their germs during all of this. The uncertainty is real. 

It seems damned if you do and damned if you don’t. 

I had hopes to go back to school for my Master’s degree  as well. If I have to work full time and be a full time stay at home mom, I don’t know that I see that working well at all.

I will always try to end my posts on a positive note. So I am going to do this by encouraging myself and other moms to trust that what they’re doing is what is right for their children, themselves and their families. 

We know in our gut exactly what we need to do. Let’s take the chance to listen to it without shame of what others might think. Do your research and make the best decision you can. I also have posted the following resources that I’ve found helpful to me to work through all of these thoughts.

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Return-to-School-During-COVID-19.aspx

https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/what-will-return-school-during-covid-19-pandemic-look

https://www.npr.org/2020/04/24/842528906/what-it-might-look-like-to-safely-reopen-schools

Once again, thanks for being here with me on my motherhood journey. I hope that we can share in our experiences and help one another through the toughest yet most loving hood, that is motherHOOD.

The morning of my eldest son’s first day of summer preschool June 6, 2020

One thought on “Back to School Blues

  1. Love that picture of your boys – such cuties!! First of all, I totally remember the back-to-school shopping and excitement of our childhood! It was definitely bittersweet with summer ending, and my mom made me try on way too many pants for my taste ☺️.

    You touch upon so many questions and considerations that we, as moms and parents, are all grappling with. We still haven’t decided if we will do blended learning or fully remote learning for our son. And yes, I would want masks to be a requirement for all the kids as well.

    Like

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