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  • Writer's pictureMeghan Simonie

A Whole New Back to School

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I am going to address the Back to School topic. I think most parents can agree that we are all on board with whatever each parent determines is best for their child. We can all probably also agree that we hope that we are making our own right choice amid our constant second-guessing.

I could go into detail about the pros and cons of our decision or lay out exactly what we decided to do and why we are comfortable with it. But, since I'm not here to persuade others into my view point or accept mom-shaming for my choice, I decided to take a different approach to this post.

This post is a reminder for those parents, caretakers, and teachers that we are all in this together.

It's Been Approximately Six Months Since Our Children Were In School

No matter what type of at home learning setting we did or did not provide for our children, let's face it, it's nothing compared to the typical school setting. There may have been late nights, followed by late mornings. There may have been lazy days where we never left our PJ's. There also may have been days where mealtimes were at abnormal and non-routine times of the day with many snacks in between.

Now, we will expect our children to transfer back to a pretty rigid schedule; regular early morning alarm, specific lunch and/or snack times (if any), and a focused attention span. These were all likely things that were not normal for them over the past six months.

So, let's have patience with our children while they transition back to this new normal. Let's also have patience with ourselves while we navigate our children's moods and emotions. And most importantly, let's shower our teachers with as much love as we can give while they take on this challenge.

Online Learning Is Tough

Whether you have opted to start the new year online or your district choose this plan for you, we can all agree that online learning is tough. It's a lot on the teachers, parents, and students.

The teachers are expected to provide material in a fashion suitable to not just their classroom, but each child's individual at-home classroom. The volume of parent-to-teacher interaction will increase as parents try to understand and teach subjects they were not professionally trained to do.

Parents will be juggling their own work, other children, schedules, and regular household activities along with guiding their children through the provided curriculum. This all must be done while parents expect their children to take them as seriously as they do their teacher.

Children will inevitably have outbursts against their parent that they likely would not have in school. So, take breaks from teaching/learning to just be together. Find things to do that promote hands-on learning that doesn't feel like learning; games, outdoor walks/adventures, family discussions, etc. Set boundaries with your children so both you and them feel like they know what to expect and something is in their control.

Teachers Are Amazing

Let me say that again for the people in the back...TEACHERS ARE AMAZING! All the planning involved and out-of-pocket expenses that go into their already underpaid salary should be proof enough that teachers teach because they love teaching our children.

Whether online or in-person, this is all new and uncharted territory for teachers too. They have to figure out a new way to instruct, connect, and inspire the young minds that come through their classrooms and onto their screens. But, because teachers are so amazing, I have no double they will accomplish this unsurmountable task.

Let's give our teachers the extra patience, kindness, and admiration they truly deserve now and everyday.

We All Know That We Don't Know

That's one thing all parents can agree on during these crazy, unforeseen times: none of us know what will happen next. We don't know how long we will be in these crazy situations or if this current normal will be our new normal going forward.

As parents, you come to expect the unexpected while raising children. However, this current lifestyle goes far beyond what any of us could have imagined. We should take the time to support each other, deliver words of kindness, and most of all provide friendship and care to our fellow parents. After all, no matter what your parenting style, we are all in this crazy club together.

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