Updated: Sep 10
So when I snapped these photos of their learning space (that I spent most of the summer getting situated) a couple of things hadn't happened.
We hadn't actually tried VL yet (I don't count last year, because there was no time for people to prepare for that and while teachers did their best they had a whole day's notice to switch from IP teaching to VL while we all collectively freaked out about the pandemic). I went into it knowing that even if schools open, the twins won't be returning for this school year. Why? Because with their particular medical needs/high risk levels it was a decision their pediatrician, their dad, and I felt strongly about. & for my anxiety - it made it easier (for me personally) to have a solid plan for the year versus waiting/hoping schools open.
We hadn't discovered that the mail wall in their playroom/school room had water damage because of a leak that's been happening for a decade due to some siding being put in upside down and we didn't know that the DAY I hung up the "final touches" the contractor would come over and let us know they'd be taking down the whole wall (inside and out) and we'd need to empty the room and seal it off once they started inside work. So - yeah. Currently this isn't what the room looks like and all of the cute things are in my dining room. Their bedroom is on the same wall so that closet is currently in MY closet - it's all super fun, but - this is what it'll look like again soon for home schooling, not virtual learning.
Because after a week - we realized VL wasn't going to work for our family.
& not because we don't want it to, or because their teacher isn't amazing, or because the school hasn't been amazing. If I'm being totally honest part of me wants to stay just to not hurt anyone's feelings by withdrawing. Part of me wants to stay because I do have faith in public schools and never want them to feel unsupported.
I just... can't.
Their daily schedule is just... a lot. & it would be a lot even if I wasn't attempting to do a year's worth of weddings in a three month chunk of time thanks to COVID postponing so many. But I am, and I can't afford to set aside 9:00am-3pm most days Monday-Friday, work in the evenings and on weekend, and ever get any editing done.
If things went smoothly and apps weren't constantly crashing and kicking us out of 15 minute meetings? It would probably still feel like too much. Plus, they still have to add in one more reading group "sometime" - but they don't know when yet because with all of the craziness around glitching/Google meets we may have to adjust small group times.
& then readjust again September 21st or so if/when schools reopen for the students who want to be face to face. This is what their days look like now (and mine, since if I walk away there's a good chance video stops streaming, the app freezes, or the meeting doesn't even let us in).
*leaves blog to make spreadsheet of their daily schedule*
TA DA! & Don't get me wrong. I'm sure lots of kids have 5 meetings a day, but these are first graders. & I, personally, just feel like this is already too much for them (not content wise, just logistically) and we haven't even added in meeting number 6 that's TBD or the videos/homework assignments we do in between this. All of which are lessons/content I am 10000% confident I can put together on my own (or use a workbook via Amazon to supplement).
Keep in mind, for the month of September I have 14 photo shoots (every where from two hours away to a few steps into my backyard), 4 weddings (there were 6 but two postponed/cancelled), and that's with blocking off the last week of September to take the twins to the beach since the one AirBNB we found with a private beach/private beach access so that I can socially distance them. The twins also see a Dentist monthly so squeeze that drive to Hendersonville and back in there - and we can also add in semi-annual appointments with every kind of specialist at Mission Children's hospital (we have at least one a month) and... there's just not enough hours in the day.
But there could be, if we were fully committed to homeschooling.
So after much consideration (I mean, let's be honest I've been considering home schooling since they were three) and after learning I don't have to choose a particular curriculum (that was the most stressful part for me) and after chatting with different friends in the same boat with kids the same age we have officially decided to withdrawal from their school at the end of the week, making their last day next Friday, and go for it.
Later I'll update this with the workbooks we purchased this morning and I'll let you know how the process of filling out the intent to home school and withdrawing goes as well.
Hopefully homeschooling is as fun (and as sweet, ba dum tish) as these cookies from Love & Butter Baking Co she made us for the first day of school. It's like she predicted the future with the "home school" cookies.
Disclaimer; while my degree is in education (WCU Class of 2013 - woot) and I'm fully confident in my ability to teach them and to read the NC Curriculum guides (which make my head hurt, still) for public schools and supplement lessons that the workbooks don't include that I feel are necessary to keep them caught up so we can put them back in school hopefully next August for face-to-face learning - I am not an expert on public schools or on home schools. I'm just a mom. Sitting in front of my laptop. Wishing it was 2022 and that I was giving a recap of how we survived this school year successfully.
Instead, I'm just going to be (to some extent) winging it and doing what I hope is the best thing for my kids and myself.
1st grade mamas and teacher friends - feel free to leave me allllllll of the hints/tips/tricks. If you teach public school? I can NOT be overwhelmed with information. You know what they should know by the end of the year? Send it my way. I love easy goals compared to the curriculum guide goals (nervous laugh). You know what topic is the most fun for 1st graders to learn? Open ears, here. You have the most fun lesson for a science project you think the girls will love? Yes, please.
<3 wish us luck.
& send all of the coffee and queso, please.
PS; I feel like the world's biggest jerk and like I'm breaking up with their school (the principal, the teacher, OT, and Special Ed have all been so amazing and I have every intention of sending each of them their own email).