We're two months into distance learning for this school year...so how's it going? Well, honestly, a little bit better than I thought it would be. Yes, I run from morning till night juggling kids, food, cleaning, learning, working, cooking again and again. And I have almost no free time. It's hard. But today I was thinking about it from a different perspective. This is the third time I've been a first grade parent. It sounds silly but first grade is HARD, really it is. Because this little person is going from kindergarten play and projects to learning letters and numbers and reading and comprehension and sitting at a desk and so much more. My older kids who are now 16 and 13, a high school junior and a 7th grader, did not do well in first grade. My oldest missed a ton of days because he was miserable and I didn't have the heart to force him to go. My middle child showed signs of anxiety when I dropped her off at school every morning and her teacher just would not let up on all the things she wasn't doing right. Her experience was so negative it took years to undo and a total shift in schools. My kids are not early readers. They are early builders and creators. They are kind, they are funny. The pressure to read in first grade nearly undid them. And my youngest tolerated school last year but always said he didn't like it. He's no fan of Zoom either but I'm realizing that something interesting is happening. We are basically homeschooling. We get the curriculum from the teacher, she helps with some parts but overall, I'm in charge. I'm more engaged than I've ever been as a first grade parent. I am aware of the lessons and I'm watching what works and what does not work and then I'm adapting. And my little guy is getting more time to build legos and be himself than he ever would at school. Yes, he's missing out on some things and I'm not sure I'd ever really homeschool but it's always been in the back of my mind and now that I have a taste, I'm seeing the benefits, my youngest might not get chewed up by first grade. He might stay in touch with his inner voice longer and stronger, he might shine because of this upside-down year. And that is a little bit of a silver lining to all this craziness.
Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the right time... I long for a bygone era and yet I dream of a future that holds the best of technology mixed with the “old ways” that are so much gentler on us and the earth.