Making the Best of School Year 2020-2021
This school year is starting differently for most children around the world. Even the kids beginning in-person classes are facing new procedures and uncertainties.
Since I have always been an optimist (although the year 2020 tests me on this daily) I have been pondering how to make the most of my own family’s situation. My son’s elementary school in Seattle, WA decided to go fully virtual and previous to this we decided not to enroll our daughter in her first year of preschool. Before the realization that I would be teaching a kindergartener and preschooler from home, I was mentally preparing for all three options:
- In-person schooling
- Virtual schooling
I also found it helpful to stay well informed as we face this new reality. Connecticut Representative Jahana Hayes weighs in on some questions parents might want answered in this article.
We began wearing masks as a family pretty early on during the pandemic. Luckily this has prepped our kids on how and where to don their masks. But let’s face it: they are 5 and 3 years of age. They need to be encouraged to participate in this age of extra…EXTRA sanitary precaution.
In order to excite them about masks we let them choose the design. Kudos to my Aunt Diane for sewing them Paw Patrol masks since this is not a skill I possess. Even hand sanitizer can be fun if you pick a scent your child is sure to enjoy smelling throughout the day. I like to make my own hand sanitizer with 8 drops of peppermint essential oil, 1/3 cup of aloe vera, and 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol.
Virtual Schooling: I have begun a new nested phase in my parenting journey while developing an educational environment in my home. Our playroom in the basement has become a school wonderland. Designating a space and livening it up for your at-home students will hopefully spark their interest. Organizing all the materials my kindergartener and preschooler will need was made easy with a Parker Baby Co. Diaper Caddy and of course there are many jaunty educational posters on the walls. We've met some classmates virtually already and plan to have some socially distant play dates soon. If you are wondering how real life teachers get students excited about learning, this article gives some great tips.
If you're taking your child’s learning completely into your own hands I have one thing to say, “You are a WONDER-parent!” My plans for our at-home preschool (luckily we have a cousin joining in!) expands well beyond the classroom. On top of the ABCs and 123s we will focus on growing closer to the world around us while staying physically distant. Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to bring things into the curriculum that means something to you as a parent! I have always wanted my kids to learn a second language, so we will be including daily Spanish lessons. We also plan to find pen pals to check in with students in different countries. Homeschool also doesn’t mean you have to STAY at home! Weekly field trips will give our preschoolers the opportunity to learn from the world around them.
Whatever path your student is taking this year, make the best of it. Try new things, grow with the times, make virtual friends, soak in any extra time you may have with your kids…just remember this is new to ALL of us. Reach out to other parents and the community around you for help when you need it. We are truly all in this together.
BONUS CURRICULUM BOOSTER:
I would be remiss not to mention the topic that we should all be actively adding to our students’ knowledge base: Racism Resistance. Parents Magazine has some great ideas for discussing this topic. Read here about how to talk to kids about race.