Our school district recently released its proposed guidelines for going back to school.
While I could see the wisdom in what their propositions were, it was also a confusing mess for my particular household. These proposals were just that—proposals. The initial release of information definitely gave us parents an idea of what decisions we need to make in the extremely near future.
My boys are eight and fifteen. One is in high school, and the other one is in elementary. They also have different last names, which adds to the confusion a little bit (part of the proposal is based on an alphabetical reintroduction to school). I knew this was coming, so I had already started thinking about it and discussing with the boys what their thoughts were on going back to school.
Historically, my oldest is more introverted, and my little one is more extroverted. My oldest excelled in the at-home learning environment this past spring, achieving a 4.5 GPA by the last day of school. He is enrolled in advanced classes, which is part of the reason for the higher than normal GPA. It was a little harder for my little one because of my work schedule.
I am a single mother with a full-time job and many outside responsibilities. With help from his dad’s significant other, we made at-home learning work for our second grader this last year. It was just a little confusing and messy, though.
COVID-19 is still quite real; our specific state’s numbers are rising by leaps and bounds every day. The school’s initial proposal looked good and took the safety of the students and teachers seriously. The reality of it is that COVID-19 is an invisible enemy, though. We won’t know until it is too late if one of the boys gets it.
Our household is a conglomeration of three main households, with several secondary households in the mix. I work full time, and both boys’ dads and their significant others work full time. My oldest son’s grandma and I share our home, and she also works full time as well—all of us outside the home. The amount of people who we could spread the virus to is absolutely astronomical.
I was leaning heavily toward homeschooling before the proposal was released. I thought for sure that my oldest would be completely okay with this, and the fight would come from my almost-third-grader.
Of course, they had to mix it up.
The little one is cool with staying home. My oldest, who is entering his sophomore year, wants to go back into a school building.
This is a decision that is in the laps of almost every parent nationwide right now.
How do we decide what is best for our families, while keeping our children’s best interests at heart?
On the one hand, if we send them to school, we are exposing them to the virus—no matter what measures are being taken by the schools to keep them safe. Our goal as parents is the safety and health of our children.
But we also have a job to make sure that they are learning things. Until they are doing at-home schooling, we do not know that it’s the best option.
My little one is fine with staying home and doing online learning—my oldest is not.
I am still leaning toward homeschooling them both. At the end of the day, I want my children to survive this pandemic. And I have more confidence in their ability to learn at home than their ability not to catch the virus from their peers.
So, I could potentially make my oldest one mad at me if I finally decide on homeschooling them.
But, our job as parents is not to always make the popular decision. It is not to be their “friend” and make sure we stay on their good side.
Our job is to love and protect them and do what is best for them—end of story.
So, I will take my teenager’s anger because I want him healthy. And the risk is just too high right now.
Every household in America is likely faced with this decision, and everyone must do what is best for their unique circumstances. It is not an easy decision to make.
As parents, we need to have a little faith in ourselves and our ability to know what is best for our children. Let them be mad.
As long as you are making your decision with their best interests at heart, that’s all that matters.