March 13, 2020. This was the last day that my children physically attended a public school. The first three weeks of the "two weeks to flatten the curve" weren't that bad. My children's teachers sent ideas of what work we could be doing and they had a few zoom meetings each week. We did some of the work that was sent but we also came up with our own ideas for learning at home. Once the school district realized that this was going to last a lot longer than originally expected, they announced that there would be a more rigorous list of what was expected of the students. It all went downhill shortly after that.
Online learning was one of the hardest things I have ever done. My 6 year old wanted nothing to do with the work that was given to her. We fought almost daily about getting the bare minimum done. Some days I would give up and email her teacher letting her know that she would not be completing the work. How can you expect a first grader, who is still learning how to read, write and spell, to navigate a computer and be able to type out the responses they wanted. I was grateful that my husband and I were able to be home and work from home during the week to help her with the work. We didn't end up doing any of the work my 4 year old received from his universal pre-kindergarten program. It was hard enough to get him to sit for the zoom meetings with his teachers and classmates after a few weeks. Children that age thrive in face to face environments. Zoom meetings are not even close to being a mediocre alternative for that. My children learned absolutely nothing during those months and they fell behind on their newly acquired skills from the previous months.
The school districts were threatening parents and students that failure to complete the appropriate amount of online learning would result in failing grades, repeating the grade, or in some cases calling Child Protective Services for parents failing to give their children an education. The schools threw their failures on the shoulders of the children and their parents. This is just one example of the schools failing our children. How could they expect parents to work, make sure their kids were logging on and completing the work, and take care of younger siblings?
March 13 was a blessing in disguise for us. As much as we enjoyed the teachers and friends, I knew that we could no longer go back to that. Online learning opened my eyes to what was truly going on in the schools. They are no longer teaching the basics: math, reading, and writing. They are teaching our children to be obedient and not to think for themselves. How much of the curriculum do we as parents actually get to see? What other things are they teaching our children that we don't know about? Was my child just a number (or a dollar sign) to them?
As a family, we decided that we would try homeschooling for this past school year. At first, it was difficult. Picking a curriculum, getting the kids motivated to try this new method of learning, not knowing how to be a teacher, and adjusting to being home all day together. In the end, it was 100% worth it. I was able to see how my children learned best. We figured out what did and did not work for us. I learned that homeschooling does not need to be a rigid, set in stone routine, but rather a fluid process that we could take day by day. I love homeschooling my children. It gives us a bond that we would not have had they been sent back to school.
I know it isn't easy and there may be sacrifices that need to be made, but it can be done. Find a community. Reach out to friends, acquaintances, and other families online. There are so many homeschooling opportunities out there. Look for events going on in your area. Anything can be a learning experience for your children. Follow what they are interested in. Children pick up so much more when it is something that fascinates them.
We can take back our country one step at a time. One important step is taking our children out of the public schools. They are destroying our youth and we will not allow that to happen any longer.
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