The first day of kindergarten is a milestone my 5 year old and I have been anticipating for a long time. We would talk about what it would be like, what things she would learn, and how much fun she would have. In all this anticipation, we did not anticipate a pandemic throwing a wrench into these best-laid plans.
On the first day of school, she will put on her special first day of school dress; it’s one that I picked out in early 2020, when covid wasn’t on my radar. That morning, we will rush around to take photos with her special first day of school sign. Then, instead of getting into the car to go to school for a teary send off, we will go back inside, take off the frilly socks and fancy shoes, and begin our journey as homeschoolers.
Why did we choose homeschool?
Families have been placed in a position to make difficult decisions regarding school this year, and my family is no exception. Home schooling was not my first choice for my family. However, during a pandemic, in an area where cases grew an alarming 94.8% in July, 2020 (based on daily case counts reported by the LDH), it was the only logical choice for our family and our child’s safety, especially in an age group that would not be required to mask.
My husband has been working from home since March with no projected end date. It seems completely incongruous to me that I would send my small child (who hasn’t been anywhere in public in 5+ months) unmasked into an enclosed space with other unmasked small children (a group notoriously bad at hygiene) but a company of adults who can (hopefully) properly mask and practice proper hygiene would be working remotely for the foreseeable future.
My family is fortunate in that I work part time, from home, so I have the flexibility to add teacher to my resumé this year. I realize not all families have this option. My child not being in the classroom this year makes space for the families that need their child in class for childcare reasons. One less body in the classroom is one less person that can potentially catch and spread covid.
We’re sad and frustrated that our child won’t get the traditional kindergarten experience this year. However, our feelings would be more than sad and mad if someone in the household got covid and passed it on to a grandparent before becoming symptomatic. Home schooling protects our family and allows our child to still see higher-risk family members.
The 2020-2021 school year will be filled with uncertainty for everyone, regardless of what path a parent chooses for educating their child this year.
Here’s to a happy and safe 2020-2021 school year, however it looks for your family.