Although the thoughts in my head may be a little loud (especially now!), my memory often takes me back to moments in time with such clarity and detail.

This is a spot that is burned into my memory – one of the many stops on our road trip this summer.

It was towards the end of our trip and I knew I was coming home to face the reality of school, frustrations and distractions and if I’m being honest, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want the summer to end. More specifically, I didn’t want this moment to end.

So peaceful. So serene. So simple.

Glad my memory catalogs moments like this and recalls them frequently.

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Remote learning…a new week…

It’s Sunday night and I already have the Monday morning blues!

We are four days into the school year and it feels like a lifetime. I’ve had a pit in my stomach all last week and through the weekend. I’ve talked with the principal. I’ve talked with the teachers. Unfortunately, nothing they said eased my concern – if anything it heightened them. (So many concerns…but a minor one being our district has purchased an online learning program that they will continue to use even after we return to school. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the flexibility to cater to varying levels within subjects. It doesn’t matter if you have mastered all the math benchmarks, you can’t move on, you must stay within the system. On the flip side, it’s going to be infinitely harder to identify those in need of remedial help.) Something tells me this situation may not be a good fit for all my kids and I’m wrestling with ideas of how to make it work.

Remote learning. It has been the topic of every conversation. Every thought. Every breath. And it’s been a little overwhelming. We went to dinner with friends over the weekend and I had to preface the outing by stating we would not be talking about school, or anything related to it!

Luckily, my kids will be fine. They are taking it in stride and rolling with it. They don’t know of the worry and concern bubbling just below the surface. This week is their first full week with full length classes. They will start to dive into the purchased curriculum.

I so badly want this to work.

Fingers crossed.

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First day of school…2020

I wish I could report vastly different results of our second day of remote learning. Unfortunately, I can’t. Luckily, I have these sweet faces that brighten my day (when they’re not yelling “mom” for me to come fix the 100th technological glitch they’ve encountered, only to realize the issue in on their teacher’s side.) And anyone with a kindergartener or 1st grader at home, trying to keep them engaged through mindless webex meetings…you have my sincere apologies.

Is it Friday yet?

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Remote learning day 1…

If I had to choose a photo to describe the mood for the day, this would be it:

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies over here and our first day of school went much worse than I could have imagined. It put us all in a mood. Every. One. Of. Us.

Technology for 4 students (three of which are elementary age) is always going to have it’s challenges. Hallie’s schedule although corrected days ago still left some issues when she was trying to log into classes that teacher’s didn’t have her down for. Cannon’s laptop provided by the school is too old to manage a live streaming video so after an hour of trying to get him connected – we finally sent him to a friend’s house who was in the same class. (funny enough his teacher didn’t realize this and although he kept raising his hand to participate the teacher wouldn’t call on him. Finally towards the end of the day the teacher asked his friend if her brother wanted to say something. They both giggled and the mom popped on to clarify that Cannon was not her brother and indeed in the class and of course she felt bad for ignoring him half the day!)

Neither Bennett’s or Hunter’s laptops were able to work with the live stream so after missing the first half of the video Bennett moved to my desktop and Hunter on a work laptop. Of course Briggs was trying to hop in every video which wasn’t so cute to his siblings and he kept asking when he gets to go to school. I ran around from one kid to the other fixing problems. “My video just quit. The link isn’t working. She said to click here and there’s nothing there. How do I fill this out? It just keeps saying loading.

Hunter was bummed that they didn’t do anything. Only half of Hallie’s teachers even provided instruction. And Cannon’s class only seemed to talk about feelings (which I see from the schedule is the topic for the whole week – clearly a theme they felt they needed to address strongly this year.)

They were only “in” school half the day and it felt like an eternity. It left us all in a somber mood the rest of the afternoon. We’ll call it a funk.

I am bound and determined tomorrow will be better. I had concerns before starting this process and today did not put those concerns at ease. Praying technology is on our side and we can work through this very kinky process. It was very apparent today that this cannot be a long term solution for our family, I’m just hoping it gets better when they actually start to learn things.

The redeeming moment for the day – first day of school pictures with some cousins – definitely the highlight. A sense of normalcy on an abnormal day.

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Back-to-School Dinner 2020…

My enthusiasm for back-to-school isn’t what it’s been in the past – hard to get super pumped knowing they’re not leaving the house. But I’m grateful for kids that are still quite excited and are looking forward to some of the fun of back-to-school traditions – including our special night before dinner that we had tonight. The older my kids get, the more I can pass on to them to help make it fun and special.

Back to School Dinner 2020

This year we are going to think outside the box as far with our kids’ education. I’m a little concerned with the amount of time our district expects our little kids to be attentive sitting in front of a screen every day. I know that desperate times call for desperate measures and remote on-line learning is where we’re at. But we can redefine education – at least within our home. Education includes kids in the kitchen. It’s more time reading. It’s creating machines with legos. It’s playing chess. It’s building. Creating. Exploring. We’re challenging our kids to think outside the box about what they want to learn. This could be our once in a lifetime chance of teaching school in our home and we’re going try and make the most of it by taking advantage of additional learning moments. Who knows how long this little chapter will last?!

Back to School Dinner 2020

Hunter’s origami skills paid off with little boxes for every plate. The only disappointment to the kids was not filling them with candy! 🙂

Back to School Dinner 2020
Back to School Dinner 2020
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