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Back to school…or not? (Contest)
Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…Amy Toohey!

Tomorrow’s the big day. Only, this year, it’s going to be very different from previous years.

This year, we didn’t have to buy a bunch of new school clothes or backpacks and lunch bags. This year, we had to make trips to the schools to pick up computers and tablets and practice logging into school websites, because in our little town, the school district offered families the option of in-school or virtual instruction, and we chose the virtual route.

We did it for many reasons, tops being—COVID-19. We want everyone to stay safe—students and adults—and when schools can’t prevent outbreaks of head lice in classrooms, we kind of figure they won’t be able to do a lot against an easily transmissible disease. Related reason: They won’t be able to do a lot to prevent outbreaks, so we’ll be ahead of the game when schools shut down again.

The kids were split. The boy hates not being able to hang with friends. The littlest girl will miss being queen bee of the classroom (she was the teacher’s pet last year), but she also loves being with her mama. The oldest girl likes the idea of doing classes online because she’ll have plenty of support from her mom and me when she runs into things she doesn’t understand (math!). They’ve found the self-isolation both fun (because we’ve been very creative about making little things into “events”) and lonely. FaceTime is a sanity-saver, but most of their friends are going back to the classroom, so I worry that their friends will drift away.

Still, we had little choice. With two elderly persons in the house, and one child a two-time cancer survivor, we knew from the outset what we would do if the opportunity was provided.

So, how to make it work and not go nuts?

My daughter has spaces throughout the house for the kids to have privacy to do their lessons. We’re setting alarms so they all start their work at the same time. If they finish early, they have the rest of the day free to do what they want. We’re lucky we have a big house to give everyone their space. If she still lived in her previous house, she said she would have set up posterboard cubicles to separate them at the kitchen table, anything so their line of sight wouldn’t include someone they could start a fight with. We’re an Irish family—there are always a lot of noisy opinions being thrown around.

How will this affect my writing schedule? We’ll see. I imagine mornings I’ll be standing by to provide assistance. Both of us will be running from room-to-room to keep kids on task. When the afternoon comes around—that will be my time. I have to stand firm. Hopefully, my dd can take a nap. 🙂

The upside of all of this? We’ve never been closer as a family. And who wouldn’t want to spend all the time they could with this one?


For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, answer me this…

How are schools where you are handling school reopenings?
Plus, bonus points for anyone with great ideas to keep kids happy at home!

14 comments to “Back to school…or not? (Contest)”

  1. Amy Toohey
    · August 23rd, 2020 at 11:44 am · Link

    Our state (Pennsylvania) is going by most recent numbers/cases/percentage positive tearing rates so that different locales in the state will be different. My kids are 35 and 38, and have no kids of their own, so I’m pretty out of the loop.

  2. Michelle
    · August 23rd, 2020 at 11:44 am · Link

    To keep kids happy. I propose schedules, maintaining the same sleep routine will be key to making. Tired kids are grumpy kids! We are sending, as my oldest goes to a vocational school, and virtual is not really an option. My youngest is hybrid, two days in, three days virtual, we may go all virtual, but he wants to go at this point. 🙂

  3. Colleen C.
    · August 23rd, 2020 at 12:26 pm · Link

    Ours gave you the option of in home or at school, but at school has started out as in home right now… a lot of bugs to work out… they had one kid typing nonsense all over the screen… the teacher tried kicking him offline a few times but he would log back in and start again… another local district had someone hack in and showed porn while the kids were doing work…

  4. Susan Saxx
    · August 23rd, 2020 at 12:49 pm · Link

    Schools here are giving parents the option to choose.

    To keep them busy? Home ec classes, lol. Maybe one night a week a different young ‘un could help the adult cook for the night make supper – and also suggest and research recipes, as they get into it? Maybe one other night all of them together could make a meal? (Each one does a different part of it – but maybe that bit’s too ambitious!)

    It sounds like you’ve all got it under control, and will have a blast!

  5. Laura LeCapelain
    · August 23rd, 2020 at 1:09 pm · Link

    I don’t have school age kids. My sons GF is keeping her son home for the first half of the school year to see how things go in the schools. If the second wave of Covid comes to Ontario 🇨🇦 she and her Son will be ahead of the curve.

    As for ideas to keep the kids occupied is projects. With Halloween coming then your Thanksgiving and then Christmas, you and your DD could come up with holiday projects or decorating projects.

    With Halloween maybe they could design their own haunted house or haunted barn.

    For Thanksgiving if there’s any hunters in the family they could go out and try and get a turkey for Thanksgiving.

    Maybe research how to keep kids busy during the depression or before they had electricity or in the old west.

    With Christmas coming you can give each child the project of making Christmas presents and only give homemade presents this year.

  6. Delaine McLafferty
    · August 23rd, 2020 at 1:40 pm · Link

    We live in Idaho and in the county with the highest rates and deaths. There are 4 of us living here and a granddaughter that stays part time. One school district has started on line but all staff must report to the schools to teach and do whatever job they have. That means my daughter goes into the school everyday. The biggest school distrist in the county pushed back opening to September 8th but they will decide on August 25th if it will be in person, online or a combination of both. My granddaughter is going to collage and they are doing both online and in person. My mom lives here, 87 with severe Alzheimer’s, and I’m 66 with a type of asthma. My 12 year old grandson has allergies that he uses inhalers for. We’ve been playing games and swimming. Also working in the yard. He interacts with his friends online.

  7. bn100
    · August 23rd, 2020 at 4:23 pm · Link

    doing remote learning

  8. Jennifer Beyer
    · August 23rd, 2020 at 4:58 pm · Link

    My understanding is that the start date is pushed back in to the middle of September. When classes start it will be “all” online until at least November. They are having to make space for certain students and activities in the schools (like AP Physics labs etc.). My local college is doing the same thing without adjusting the start or end dates.

  9. ButtonsMom2003
    · August 23rd, 2020 at 8:00 pm · Link

    I honestly don’t know for sure as I live in a retirement community but I think that parents have the option for kids to be at home.

    I loved going to school (back in the dark ages LOL) so I’m happy that I’m not having to deal with this.

    p.s. those kids are damn cute – all of them!

  10. Debra Guyette
    · August 24th, 2020 at 6:13 am · Link

    Here you can do full time face to face or virtual. You can also do half and half. I am thankful we do not have to make a choice. My grandson is 3 but will not go to preschool this year.

  11. Heather
    · August 29th, 2020 at 11:36 am · Link

    The college i traditionally teach at went back on campus. Have an auto immune disease, having an older mother with several illnesses and a brother who just had major surgery; I opted to take time away from the classroom. It meant taking more work at my day job but it’s too big a chance. Plus wearing a mask for 8 plus hours per day when I have severe atopic dermatitis and rosacea isn’t something I can do. 2 hours and my face is bleeding.

    As far as regular schools I have no idea.

  12. flchen1
    · August 29th, 2020 at 9:04 pm · Link

    We are all remote right now, and while it is not the kids’ preference, they’re adjusting as best they can. They’re making use of technology to keep in touch with their friends, so thank God for decent Wifi, LOL! I do think it helps to get out of the house for fresh air when we can, so that is part of the routine as much as the air quality allows (we’re close to some of the California fires, so it’s varied quite a bit this week). Grateful for all the teachers and all the firefighters!!

  13. BookLady
    · August 29th, 2020 at 10:24 pm · Link

    A combination of on site and online learning depending upon the grade level

  14. Delilah
    · August 30th, 2020 at 12:02 pm · Link

    Thanks to everyone who shared how your towns are handling school reopenings!

    The winner of the Amazon gift card is…Amy Toohey! Congrats, Amy! Be watching your email inbox!

Comments are closed.