I've had a lot of anxiety and insane amounts of stress leading up to school starting this fall. At the end of the school year in May, I so looked forward to August. Everyone's lives were flipped upside down mid March and the hopeful promise of normal school activities in just a few months was what I latched onto. I dug my fingers into the idea that my kids would go back to school and continue on this normal path we once had.
We were supposed to go visit my family in Michigan this summer, but we cancelled due to Covid. So instead, we visited Mt. Rushmore and did a big camping trip with Tim's aunt and uncle. Our kids did limited activities like baseball, gymnastics, and rock climbing. We kept them pretty secluded from the outside world still...other than our neighborhood friends. We made the best out of it all.
But I was still so looking forward to August when school started back up. It was the "light at the end of the tunnel" that kept me from breaking down.
Well...plans change. 2020 has no true concrete promises.
The virus is still causing so many cities and states to close down further and further.
So we came to a crossroads. What do we do about school?
Tim was adamant about not sending the kids to school. "They" say kids aren't susceptible to Covid, but he didn't feel comfortable testing the theory. Plus the masks-all-day thing was something he didn't think would work with our young kids, aged 5-7. He also didn't feel comfortable forcing teachers to come back when they might not be super excited about the idea. I was okay with sending them to school, but respect his viewpoint.
I was adamant about not doing virtual learning. It's not that the spring was a terrible experience - I felt like our teachers didn't put extreme expectations on the kids. It's just that this new virtual option would be a lot more in depth. I didn't see how I'd be able to handle five kids on five screens, watching a teacher teach for 1-4 hours per day and be able to keep up or help them all. All I could imagine was my mental health quickly deteriorating as the days went by. It's like my soul knows it will be hell.
So we compromised and decided to homeschool.
And I sort of want to throw up, honestly.
This decision truly ripped my heart out because I love our school district and teachers so much. I hate that taking five kids out of their funding directly affects them. It just sucks so much. But it's really the only option that we can do right now.
So what will homeschool look like for the five Schultz kids?
We turned our basement into a little classroom. We moved all of Sawyer's gymnastics equipment upstairs and I went to IKEA and grabbed some things. The blue table with pink chairs is from IKEA and the wooden table was a garage sale find last year.
I'm really not trying to put a ton of pressure on my shoulders. I figure as long as we are TRYING, it will be okay! Thankfully our school district posts their curriculum requirements per grade, or at least what the expectations are and what the kids in the school are learning -- so I'm following that!
The thing I had to do is find lesson plans.
So for instance, the first graders (Easton and Sawyer) will be reading Stellaluna at the beginning of the year. The second graders (Presley) will be reading Charlotte's Web. I went onto Teachers pay Teachers and found little lesson plan bundles to use while we read them.
I did the same thing for math and grammar. Teachers pay Teachers is a great resource! I'm not really worrying about science or social studies right now. We are just focusing on the basics. They can catch up on that stuff later! I think all of the kids even in public schools will be focusing on the basics this first little part of the year anyways.
I also found journal entry prompts to do every morning as a start to each day. My main goal is to make sure they are progressing with their reading and writing.
My plan with the twins is to focus on basic math, letters and sounds, and sounding out words. Pinterest has a ton of resources for free that I am going to utilize. I'm really not going to over think it with them. We will use ABC Mouse a lot, too. As well as Youtube videos!
Our plan is to reevaluate everything at the end of the first quarter which is mid October. If things are looking good, we will send them back. If things aren't, then we will homeschool through January. Everything is totally up in the air. I'm hoping by at least January that things will be a little more normal and school will again be a safe place. But maybe I'm naive. We will see!
So wish us luck! I think sanity wise this is the better option for all of us. If school starts and then abruptly stops, I think that's going to be harder on them. Keeping everything as stable as possible will be really helpful for us.
It won't be super easy on me, but I think the pressure to make sure my kids don't fall further behind is enough to motivate the heck out of me haha. I work the best under pressure! So this is a really great challenge and I'm going to make the best of it.
But I am for sure booking a week long all inclusive vacation to a tropical island the second it's safe to do so!
Godspeed parents! Sending you lots of love, whatever your decision is! See ya on the flipside of the craziness!