In late July, parents and guardians all had a major decision to make: choosing fully virtual, homeschooling, or in-school options for our children. We gritted our teeth, thought hard, and braced ourselves for the outcome of each personal decision, centered around our kids and our own personal work schedules. First of all, I am so proud of all of us. It’s been a month and I’ve talked to parents in each situation and heard pros and cons. As you may know, we chose the in-school, plan B option where our kids attend school two days a week and remote three. I shared our first day experience in a previous post Our First Day of School with Plan B. Well, it’s been a month, and as promised, I wanted to keep everyone abreast on our journey. Here’s what we’ve experienced since then…
Smooth sailing…so far
- The kids didn’t have issues wearing masks. I was so worried that my kids would be suffering in their masks all day, taking them off and complaining once they got home. That couldn’t be further from the opposite, My second-grader started putting hers on before she got out the car and would have it on after being picked up. I finally had to tell her it was okay to remove it once she was in the car, but I was proud at how quickly she adjusted. Same for my middle-schooler.
- They eat lunch in-classroom.
- The teachers are communicating extremely well. Both elementary and middle school are using Class Dojo to communicate with parents, in addition to email, and they have been very active and prompt with answering ANY questions.
- Dixon Middle School implemented ORCHESTRA for the first time this year for 5th graders, so my 10-year old son is learning to play the CELLO! Fuller’s Music came to the school to fit children for instruments and help parents order them and I was blown away by the opportunity that my son has, in learning to read music and play a string instrument. They have a choice between violin and cello. It is very challenging and he is thoroughly enjoying it.
So proud of my second grader…
What caused my jaw to drop the most was how quickly my second-grader adjusted to her remote learning days and how amazing her teacher, Mrs. Smith was at teaching them the routine! I remember the day she brought her laptop home and told me that she knew how to navigate to all her learning paths on her own!
- Binders were created for their remote learning days. In them is a weekly checklist outlining each days work in addition to that list being available online.
- All the sign-in info is printed, laminated and in the binder, along with notebook paper and all the worksheets the child will need to complete at home.
- After the child goes to the homepage, each day is formatted in a click-able Powerpoint, where they SELECT each subject. If there is a video to watch, it is embedded. For instance, during Word Study each day, Mrs. Devalouis records a video where the students use a sheet protector covering card stock to write their words with an erasable marker. What a great idea and it is so effective!
- The Clever program. which is a supplemental program for reading and math (that all of us parents are familiar with by now), is also saved and easily accessible for them to spend their daily 20 minutes or more, as assigned.
Back to Normal?
Recently, there was an announcement made that the elementary students would be returning to class full-time.
Kindergarten and 1st graders will return to in-person learning beginning the week of October 5; 2nd and 3rd graders will join them the week of October 19; 4th and 5th graders will be added back the week of November 2nd. During this transitional period, students will continue to receive in-person instruction Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with Wednesdays remaining remote for all students.
I must admit, I was a little bummed. I’ve personally enjoyed the combination of virtual and in-school and hoped it would continue through this year and even be an option going forward. I know this isn’t everyone’s sentiment though, as a lot of my friends jumped for joy at this revelation. And I get it. I understand. It’s been a challenge for work schedules. Every child can’t learn this way, and the list goes on and on.
Here’s what I hope: this transition will be smooth and the health of the children won’t be impacted. Middle and high schoolers are remaining in place until further notice.
Are you excited and ready for these changes? Or concerned and in opposition?