Well, we went on spring break and they decided to let the kids stay off school for an extra week because of the coronavirus. Then they pushed the return to school back to April 15, saying we’d do “distance learning.” That’s when your kid gets your computer all day while you attempt to oversee their school work online.
This may result in families growing closer.
Unless they cancel the rest of the school year. Then it may result in bloodshed.
Personally, I think the kids are mainly enjoying being away from school, even though they miss their friends. I think the parents are adapting and will share ideas and tips with each other on how to improve the semi homeschool experience. And while there have been jokes about giving teachers a raise, let’s not forget most parents in this situation are trying to do two full time jobs – their regular job and the teacher’s job. They’re not getting paid for one of those and didn’t want to do that job. Those jokes about raises will go away with each passing week we’re doing this.
Wanna know what won’t go away? Distance learning.
A lot of parents are seeing classes and topics they don’t approve of. The ones with kids in college are wondering why they’re paying outrageous fees for books and room and board when their kid can obviously self direct their education at home for much less – and without hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt afterward.
Colleges did it to themselves. Many turned into pseudo playgrounds full of safe spaces and therapy bunnies to coddle their human revenue streams while the internet was exploding with more ways to learn things than there are grains of sand on the beach. You have to figure, after a while, the people footing the bill would notice.
This week, they will.
As comedian and magician Penn Gillette said, due to the internet, if somebody really wants to learn something, they can – often for free.
A lot of colleges will notice a drop in student registrations next year, and that trend will continue until they get their act together. (I think they will, but one never knows,)
Meanwhile, expect homeschooling numbers to jump dramatically because you just made us test drive something we didn’t want to do, and we may decide our kids are worth the investment.
It’s been a rich, valuable week, and I look forward to the next two weeks. We’ve done some fun FaceTime sessions with friends while having a spelling test, did a “distance lunch” where we got McDonald’s and visited a friend, eating in the front yard while staying ten feet away, and we’ve grown closer as a family and a community. We’ve rallied to help friends with old computers at home and we’ve done Zoom calls with our class and our teachers. It’s been interesting.
Times like these test our mettle, It’s a small challenge compared to what other generations have been called on to do. We aren’t storming the beaches at Normandy. LOTS of Parents have taken to Facebook to complain as loudly as possible about how unprepared our schools were for this. Lots of others have quietly gone about what Americans always do – getting the job done so things can return to normal, and maybe appreciating something in the process: an opportunity to spend a little more time with our precious kids before they leave the nests – which they will all too soon.
When I was a new dad with a tiny baby in my arms at the grocery store, complete strangers would come up and tell me, “They grow up fast. Blink twice and you’ll be walking her down the aisle.”
For some reason, that advice resonated. Maybe because my dad, older brothers and sisters, and high school friends with their own kids said it, too.
Many dreary eyed nights while I did a 2am feeding, I recalled their words and decided to do my best to enjoy all of it because it wouldn’t last. Those 2am feedings became my special time with my daughter. An investment in bonding. An example of selflessness and optimism she might carry forward one day. And now, ten years later, the friends and family members and strangers at Publix were right. She grew up fast.
I expect a few years from now, maybe sooner – probably sooner – the inconvenience of distance learning will be long forgotten. The memories of the ways we made it fun and special will remain with us forever.