Well. There you have it – our superintendent has announced that in our county, the school year will begin online. The kids are slated to begin August 19 with “100% e-learning”.
I understand the rationale and respect his decision. But I’m still a little sad. It’s not that our days are terrible right now — while they are not perfect, the kids are doing at least a little bit of ‘schoolwork’ each day (using online apps, workbooks, etc). But Cameron in particular does not seem suited to online learning. (By this, I mean that it literally sounds like a person is being tortured when he is asked to read or complete written work. Let me tell you, It’s a lovely soundtrack to listen to when you are upstairs trying to Work Deeply).
I still have questions. Would sending G to her in-person Montessori school help the other two focus better at home? Would Cameron do better at that school than he would with e-learning? Is that school just going to end up online anyway (making this whole train of thought a waste of time/energy/effort)?
I personally do not have significant fears of a) our children contracting COVID-19 or b) our children bringing it home, mostly because I continue to feel having it in our household is inevitable anyway with the exposures at work. That said, I recognize it is not risk-free. AND I understand why for many teachers / school employees, in-person school is a significant risk (so again — I 100% respect the decision made given our local case burden).
Well. There goes my resolve not to think about school. On the bright side, our nanny has continued to be willing to run homeschool and in fact has felt like our daily pattern this summer has been doable. (NOTE to e-learning curriculum creators in warm climates: I hope there is some flexibility built in so that the kids can continue to spend time outside in the mornings!)
Deep Work Report
I am actually very happy with my Deep Work efforts yesterday! I knew I had an essentially open day, and a Big Project that needed to be completed that had been plaguing me for days called our Annual Program Evaluation. This is a ~20+ page document with many sections, some of which require digging for data and others which require thinking/writing/creatitivity. I put my phone on DND (though I am not convinced it was sending out my DND message? I couldn’t see them?) and you guys — IT WORKED!
That thing is done and it was so satisfying. And yes, there were multiple work texts I did not receive during that time period and none of it mattered.
I took a break mid-day to eat lunch with the kid & put G down for her nap, and another short walk break at 3 pm. It was a satisfying and rather lovely day.
I also listened to another episode of Cal Newport’s podcast. You guys — even though it personally irks me sometimes (AND I HAVE QUESTIONS – maybe I will submit them), I actually think it’s filled with valuable ideas. One thing that struck me yesterday was the idea of focusing on adding more activities with value to our lives rather than subtracting “bad habits.” Of course, he also spends a great deal of time discussing use of the phone as pacifier and ending the terrible habit of jumping in and out of social media all day, but for me I find it more helpful to focus on what I am doing that does contain value and depth.
Things I would still like to ask him:
First and foremost: what a day in the life looks like for him. While I 100% agree with Gwinne that having children does not preclude deep work (after all, she is a professor parenting 2 children alone, and STILL gets DW done!), the sheer volume of things that CN recommends doing sounds like a lot.
He exercises (well, so do I). He writes for professional outlets. He kicks ass at his professor job (it sounds like) — both the research & teaching. He is deeply involved in parenting (what does this look like for him?). He reads complex books and takes notes on them. He walks outside every day for an hour, alone with his thoughts.
I mean in truth, I guess I could write a similar paragraph about myself. But unlike Cal, I do not feel like I live in depth most of the time. I feel like I am answering to others’ needs more than my own for a lot of the time, and I find a good deal of parenting work to be . . . well, not so deep. Cleaning up kitchen messes over and over again. Breaking up fights. Figuring out meals (well, I do rather enjoy that part. Sometimes).
Is the ~30 minutes/day I spend on Instagram and my email checking habits really what is holding me back? OR do our lives feel different because unlike me, Cal mostly gets to control his own schedule due to his career choices and personal split in family responsibilities (which he has every right to do, if that is what works for his family). Not entirely sure.
(My husband’s life does not look like Cal’s either. For the record.)
- Workout (today’s Cardio Flow contains 88 spiderman pushups. I am scared.)
- Telemedicine patients with a resident (all remote!)
- GME meeting
- Walk with G (I am trying something — alternating taking each kid individually for a ~30 minute walk at the end of the day if I have time before our nanny leaves).
- Probably finish Beach Read (which I read on my phone. Ugh I need some paper books back in my life).