When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic earlier this year, I was in the middle of my week off from work. My kids were home for spring break, and I had a feeling that we’d all be home together for the foreseeable future — and after just a few emails from the school district, I also knew that I wasn’t in the mood to take part in the experimental virtual schooling disaster that was about to unfold.
With four kids, a husband who works, a day job, a business, and a lot of other stuff on my plate. I just couldn’t imagine trying to work from home, play teacher to a teen and tween, and wrangle two toddlers long-term — and even Stevie Wonder could see that this was going to last for a while. Jordan and I had a discussion with the older kids to see how they were feeling and to make some tough decisions about what our next steps would be.
Chloe and Travis never stop amazing me. They were level-headed, practical, and mature — and before Jordan and I started talking, they let us know that they were aware that everything was changing and they were ready to quarantine and make adjustments until the pandemic was over. They’d been having conversations with friends, and there was a lot of confusion about school, so they decided that they wanted to try homeschooling instead. Jordan and I were completely on board, and selfishly I was glad that I didn’t have to suffer through the e-learning experiment.
Immediately, I enrolled them in an accredited online homeschool program whose credits are accepted by our school district. I had planned to withdraw my kids from school, but the district announced that kids would not be penalized for opting out, so after weeks of trying to get in touch with administrators at the middle and high school, I left it alone.
From the beginning of March to the end of May, I was flooded with a constant barrage of emails from our local teachers about assignments and class updates — I mean, I was literally getting 30-50 a day. Emails for my 12 and 15 year olds, who are fully capable of receiving and reading their own damn email.
Every time I checked my email, my inner monologue got the best of me.
What the hell are you sending me the assignments for? I told you we were opting out…LEAVE ME ALONE!!!
Meanwhile, Chloe and Travis were thriving, independently working on the virtual homeschooling program, and it wasn’t causing them (or me) any stress at all. Even though we’d opted out of the school district’s e-learning program, I encouraged my kids to be good sports, and participate in the zooms their teachers were hosting.
For the 20 or so minutes they were on the zoom calls, they hated it — which is understandable because as a professional who spends hours in conference calls every day, I hate it.
I feel terrible for the parents, teachers, and students suffering through it right now — but I’m glad we got out. This pandemic and these circumstances are unprecedented, and there are a ton of reasons that families have chosen to push forward with their local district’s plans, but I don’t feel guilty saying that my family opted out for four simple reasons:
- My husband and I don’t have time to be teachers, earn a living, and keep all out kids alive.
2. The e-learning plan sucks.
3. Our mental health is more important.
4. We can.