Well – round two of the first day of school!

Everyone was up bright and early and masked up for school. They all experienced some nerves in one way or another but they came home beaming.

Cannon: Came home wearing a different mask than what he left with this morning (a little concerning in this environment!). I quickly realized he was wearing his extra mask from his backpack. He proceeded to tell me he thought his nose was runny so we went to the bathroom to remove his mask and realized he had a bloody nose. No one wants to see a bloody mask so he switched to his alternate mask! He was all smiles about everything school. He loved every minute and had all sorts of “highs” to tell me about. He even got to sit somewhat near his best friend at lunch. Oddly enough, he couldn’t think of a single “low” from the day which is saying something when end up having a bloody nose in your mask.

Bennett: Cool as a cucumber. He was really looking forward to today. Due to some teacher changes, his best friend ended up in his class. That alone was the high from his day. He too got to sit somewhat near this friend at lunch which also made his high list. He had no complaints. He got his packet from his teacher for his remote days and I have no doubt he will make it a habit to come home and complete the packet on the first day and then not have anything he needs to do the rest of the week.

Hunter: Not quite as chatty as the other two. He was most bothered with wearing the mask all day. He was equally bothered by recess where they had to stand on one half of the basketball court for one recess and then one half of the field for the other recess. They couldn’t use any playground equipment or bring any sports equipment from home. They ended up playing shadow tag (you can’t touch anyone but you can jump on their shadow) but for some reason that wasn’t nearly as fun as playing kickball or speed on the basketball court. He was the one most adamant about going back and he seemed to be the least satisfied with the outcome of the day. He was still happy with the day and is excited to go back – he just wants more mask breaks.

Hallie: Experienced her first day of high school on campus and was probably the most anxious. I had a great high school experience but some of the most fun memories of high school is what happens outside of class – the stuff that has been put on hold or cancelled this year. The freshman orientation, pep assemblies and school pride, football games, eating lunch with friends, participating in sports and clubs…high school has so much to offer. We keep reminding her that one day she’ll get a taste of it. For now, she is going to enjoy the easy “A” that every class is handing out and the lack of homework or even in-class school work. High school will never be easier as far as grades and assignments are concerned as it is right now. She was disappointed to not be on the same schedule as some of her friends and the campus still seems a little daunting right now. Luckily, they are giving extra time in-between classes so she ended up in all the right places today.

The general consensus is the kids loved it and they are all genuinely bummed that they have to wait until Friday to go back. Socially we have taken one giant leap. Educationally we may be taking a step back, but I know the teachers are doing their best with this elusive moving target we call corona school.

As remote only learners, the kids were engaged with live lessons with their teacher every single day and enjoyed virtual specials and they were able to have virtual small groups to offer remedial help. They are now in-person two days a week, although they are using some of that in-person instruction time for virtual specials like art and PE. I would have preferred their in-person days to be learning with a teacher – save the virtual specials for when the kids are virtual. I think I just envisioned more of a concentrated curriculum given the circumstances of only learning two days a week. They also don’t have small groups anymore because of the need to keep kids at their desks, socially distanced.

Some of the teachers who are in person (such as two of our kids’ teachers) are also having to manage the remote only learners at the same time which will significantly divide their time and makes it harder on the teacher. (Originally we were told that remote learners would have separate teachers – teachers that were unable to return to school due to risk – so it was a little surprising to learn they had changed the plan.) One day a week is a half day and they will have one live webex session with their teacher. The two other days are completely on their own. They have a packet of assignments to work on and then they’re done. Like I mentioned, Bennett will have that small packet done the first day! (Luckily, each kid has been working through some workbooks on the side and we will continue to utilize them to fill in some holes.)

We chose this learning model because even taking a step back educationally – I know my kids needed all the other aspects that they were missing from live school. Our district made us lock into a learning module until January but if the district decides to move to in-person, those that chose modified would transition to full-time in-person. Hence, we opted for modified with all our fingers and toes crossed that we will move to in-person within the semester and these kids can enjoy a somewhat normal school schedule. We can do this!