The deadline to decide between remote (virtual) and in-person learning for my kids is today.
We have talked this through every which way over the last two weeks, going back and forth over the options as we tried to decide what was right for our family. We talked about keeping them enrolled but not sending them for a while. We talked about sending them part time. We talked about trying school on the computer again and what that would be like. I emailed back and forth with our principal and the school board, trying to get all the information I possibly could. There have definitely been some white nights on my part as I tried to weigh out the possible implications of each option.
The sad reality is that there are no great options. There really aren’t. As difficult as this has been, I feel incredibly blessed to have even had the opportunity to wrestle through this…. for so many people I know, there really are no options. They have to work, and so their kids will need to be in school.
As we talked about virtual vs. in-person, there was really only one option that we could find any peace with:
I just submitted my letter of intent to homeschool to my school board and withdrew my children’s enrollment for September.
I cannot even begin to tell you about the ridiculous mix of emotions I’m feeling right now. To be totally honest, I’m devastated that this is where we are. I’m a teacher. I LOVE my job. I believe school is SO important for kids on so many levels.
…but not like this. Not in the way it’s being set up at present. We just didn’t feel right about sending them for in-person learning right now, and Miss S really struggled with the set up of the virtual class last spring. From what I understand, this year it will be even more structured than before… and I can’t put her through that again. We talked to each one of the kids, and let them weigh in on the decision, and this is where we landed.
So, I’m going to do it. I’ve always tried to juggle the roles of being a mom and a teacher, but now I’m just going to juggle them for my little class of three. With the option to opt out of daily supply work on the table, I’m basically taking an unpaid leave to begin a new journey with the kids… at least for a few months until we see where things are.
When I sent that email to my board, the board that I work for, I felt this massive contradiction settle on my shoulders– it feels so heavy and so light at the same time. A strange combination of sorrow and relief is playing tug of war in my heart… and even though I feel settled in this decision, I’m so unsettled too.
How did we get here? *sigh*
So, it’s done. The letter is sent, I’ve notified the school and now we are forging a new path into the unknown.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that part of me is a little excited. I know this will be challenging, but I also think it could be kind of great too. Miss S is already coming at me with a list of “electives” she would like to learn in addition to the curriculum books I’ve purchased. So far cooking, sewing and knitting are high on her list, and I think it’s kind of neat that I can add a focus on those skills in our day to day work. H has already come so far in his reading this summer, I’m excited to keep a spotlight on that and see where we can go with his writing too.
I don’t know what the future holds– but at least we have a plan now and I feel some peace with this.
And I hope that wherever you are with this decision, that you can too. ❤️
Big News: I’ve been slow resuming sort of normal activities that I haven’t done since the pandemic hit.
It feels weird to be back out a little more, but at the same time… it feels so good. Almost to the point that I don’t want to enjoy it because I’m worried it will get taken away again.
This week I got my haircut. I went thrifting for the first time.
Today I mailed a parcel, went to Dollarama and went into a grocery store to stop. With a cart and everything. I’d be lying if I said I was totally comfortable with it all, but it wasn’t as bad or scary as I’d made it out to be in my mind.
Except for the part where two employees at the grocery store weren’t wearing masks while stocking aisles. (I definitely did not go into those aisles.)
It feels like I’m wading into a giant pool, but I’m still not sure if the temperature is right for me. I’m going to keep my water wings on and take it slow.
In other news, I ran seven kilometers this morning. SEVEN.
It felt SO good, and my legs are definitely SO tired tonight. Today it felt like hitting 10km might actually be possible. I’ve never really felt that before… it always felt like I maxed out at 5km and I couldn’t understand how people ran further distances. I really want to try and go for it. I’ll keep you posted.
In other, other news, P ate ALL THREE meals today by himself. I deliberately made foods that I knew wouldn’t be a major battle, but I didn’t have to feed him at all. It feels a little like a Christmas miracle and I am SO excited for him!
…and for ME! YAY YAY YAY.
In other, other, other news, I started reading the Laura Ingalls series with Miss S tonight. We began Little House in the Big Woods and I am so excited to dive into these books with her. I still have the set my parents bought for me when I was a kid, and now I’m reading them with my daughter.
I think that’s pretty neat.
I have been a tiny bit stressed about work.
And by tiny bit, I obviously mean I’ve had a white night or two about it. For those that are new here, I am an “occasional teacher”, better known as a supply teacher. I have been teaching for over 10 years and have been eligible to apply for permanent jobs for a while, but last year I made the decision to stay occasional for now as it allows me a little more flexibility. In the past I’ve had the freedom build my own schedule and take off days whenever I need to.
With three kids, that’s extraordinarily helpful… particularly during flu season. And strep season. And cold season. And… you know.
It’s also kind of neat because I get to work in so many different schools. Since I’ve worked contacts in multiple schools and have been supplying for so long, I have friends all over. It’s really fun to go to different schools and get to work with phenomenal colleagues at multiple locations.
With everything that’s going on with COVID, the idea of being a supply teacher makes me INCREDIBLY nervous. I was quietly freaking out about the possibility of having to go to multiple sites–in the past it wouldn’t be abnormal to work at 3 or four different schools in a week… heck, I’ve even worked at two schools in the same day.
I was also worried that my board might crack down on that flexibility that has become so important for me. It is SUCH a privilidge that I even have it, and I worried that they might require supplies to have more open availability to fill the vacancies I am sure are coming. We are still back and forth about what to do with the kids and school and I worried that if they required me to work more than I have been that homeschooling wouldn’t even be an option for me.
I told you, there have been some white nights.
My board finally reached out with instructions and options for occasional teachers today. The long and the short of it is that I don’t have to accept daily assignments. I can still explore short term contacts and apply as I wish, but I won’t be forced to work all over the board like before.
I am SO relieved.
I feel like this GIGANTIC weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and I wish I could enjoy it a little more… but at the same time, there is also a heavy weight pressing on my chest as I think about all my friends who don’t have this option and are walking back into work next month. I really hope that the plans the province has put in place will be enough to protect them.
This all just feels like such utter madness. I keep going over and over all of this in my head, and the only thing that keeps ringing is: how is this real life?! How did we get HERE? How has the world changed THIS much that I’m afraid to send my kids to school? I’m afraid to go to a job that I love for fear of my family’s health and safety… it makes NO sense.
It’s just… bananas. All of this is absolutely bonkers and I can’t wrap my head around it.
Tonight I’m going to bed with such a mixed bag of emotions. I feel lighter somehow, but also still so weighed down.
Six days left until school decision time for the kids.
Oh my goodness. It’s late… and I am SO tired.
I didn’t write last night. Honestly, this week has been really overwhelming. There are so many big adulting things happening and even though I keep waiting for someone else to come and tell me what the answers are, no one comes. I need a magic lamp. Or something.
So last night I turned my brain off and we watched a movie. Actually, we watched parts of two. We started one downstairs then decided to be responsible and go to bed at a reasonable time.
…but then we went upstairs and turned on part of a different movie and watched that instead of going to bed like responsible people. Why we didn’t finish movie #1? No idea. We’re just wild and crazy like that.
The deadline to choose whether our kids will be attending school in-person is looming and it’s like this big black cloud hanging over me. We have 8 days left to declare what the kids are doing. EIGHT DAYS.
I am so beyond grateful that I even have a choice when so many other families don’t. At the same time–it feels SO heavy. It just feels so ridiculous that we are all in this position. How is this real life?!
Also, I haven’t really spoken about it until today, but we are house hunting! We’ve been looking for a couple of weeks, but we are so back and forth about what we want and where we want it. We’re really hoping this move will be to our “forever house” so again, a heavy decision we want to get right.
We saw two more houses today… and one of them we actually loved. It has almost all the things we want, but not quite. So, do we settle? Or do we wait and see what else comes up? I just don’t know. AH. We’re lucky that we have a phenomenal realtor that I’ve known for a long time. She has been so patient guiding us through this, and I know we’ll find our place.
In other news, I’m going to get my hair cut tomorrow and I’m SO EXCITED. I checked my calendar, and my last cut was on August 13th of 2019. It’s been almost a year and it is SO overdue. I still am not sure what I want to do, only that I want her to cut about 23438297 pounds out of it. It’s so heavy I am beyond ready to let that gooooo.
I am also going to pick up groceries. Not as exciting as a haircut, but YAY FOOD!
And now, I’m taking my overtired self to bed.
I’ve been trying something new this week.
I have a confession: over the past few months, we sort of got in the habit of not doing our dishes after dinner. We’d put the food away and load the dishwasher, but inevitably we’d be tired or the kids would need us for something and we’d get pulled from the kitchen….
…and then just not go back to do them until the next morning.
I never loved it, but sometimes facing the messy kitchen at the end of an already long day was just not something either of us were terribly interested in. We chose to relax instead, and for a while it was what we needed.
Lately though I haven’t loved waking up to a sink full of dishes. Now that I’m running and doing yoga in the morning, it just added one more thing to my to-do list.
For the past week, I decided to actively focus on going to bed with a clean kitchen every night. It seems like such a basic thing, but our kids have an early-ish bed time so it’s sometimes hard to juggle everything–family activities, going for walks, bath, stories, etc in the short window between dinner and bed.
…and by the time we actually herded them INTO bed we weren’t super motivated to go clean the kitchen.
That being said, it has been reeeeeally nice to wake up to a sparkly kitchen. I’ve made a point of changing some of my habits to ensure most of the kitchen is clean right after dinner, then we go back and finish after the kids are in bed if need be. I don’t always want to do it, but I get it done and I forgot how much I enjoyed not having to think about it in the morning.
So. Look at me being all adulty cleaning the kitchen when you’re actually supposed to.
Miss S has also been on a cleaning spree.
Her room has long been a point of contention between us as it’s typically a bit of a disaster. She usually likes it in a state of chaos where she can see EVERYTHING, and most of it is all over the floor. Despite my aversion to doing dinner dishes, I can’t stand when there are things all over the floor. It drives me bonkers.
She and I have been working hard on some strategies to help keep her room a little tidier, and I have noticed a big improvement. It usually takes some prompting from M or I (read: nagging) but she is cleaning up more often.
Today, she did it spontaneously WITHOUT BEING ASKED.
I came upstairs and found her room like this and I wanted to weep tears of joy.
Instead, I gently pulled her aside, wrapped my arms around her and told her how much I loved her. I told her this was the best gift I’ve received in a while and that it was such a big help to me. I gave her a big ol’ kiss on the cheek and she was absolutely beaming.
So look at that. Miss S and I are both turning over new leaves this week.
I like it.