COVID19 Parenting

Day 157: School!!

August 19, 2020

We interrupt the habits series because today is a big day: Annabel’s first day of (online) school!

Here is the schedule her teacher sent yesterday. I made a trip to the school to pick up textbooks (one math book, one science/social studies book, one Spanish book, and a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which A has already read (or had read to her) and is very excited about rereading for school).


The above schedule was sent by the teacher yesterday. The school district has been very clear that school will take place through the entire regular school day. (I am hoping there will not also be homework but . . . I’m also not that optimistic.)

To be honest, I have no idea how all this is going to play out and how much involvement will be needed on the parental/nanny end. For the next two weeks, C&G are still in the house (and I’m still in major catchup mode for work!) so we are really hoping A will be able to be mostly independent. She really did do pretty well with the learning last year, but it was different – mostly asynchronous modules (and it started at 10 AM!).

I am curious about these writing slots, and about recess. I told Annabel I was hopeful that some days I could take a walk outside with her at 1 pm during my own lunch break.

Because of the presence of her siblings this week, we set her up in her room. Her laptop, school agenda, and a pencil are out in her desk with her supplies underneath organized in an IKEA locker. She is excited. We will see how things go. I am greatly looking forward to Sept 1 though which is the start for C&G. (At least as of now.)


I know I mentioned that I was thrilled to be rid of the 843 activities that the kids were doing. BUT we may be adding one back:

(Josh’s aunt owns/runs Condee Farm and it’s a whopping 15 min away so I’m not sure why we didn’t do this sooner, but I think it’s a reasonable activity to start. Cameron wants to do it too!)


  • Reply Racheal August 19, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Thanks for posting that schedule! My kids are going back in person next week, but I know we need to be prepared for if/when there is a need for 100% virtual again. I was wondering what the day would look like for them, but this gives me hope for some structure!

    Horseback riding lessons?!? So fun! Good luck catching up today! 🙂

  • Reply Chelsea August 19, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Good luck to A! The two major complaints about virtual learning I’ve heard here (we started 8/10) are that 1.There are *many* technical issues with lack of computing power on the part of the school and 2. When teachers want kids to do too much program switching. “Read this book in this Scholastic and then open the questions in this Google doc and then answer the quiz questions in Canvas in the next 20 minutes…” But both seem to be improving tremendously during the second week.

    All of which is to say, it *may* be rough today (though I hope it isn’t), but that doesn’t mean the system won’t be better soon. Though, on the other hand, if A seems consistently not to be able to work independently after several days, reach out to the teacher to let him or her know. Because (at least in our district) kids *are* supposed to be able to work independently. A friend of mine who is the source of the “Read this book…” comment above said she reached out to her teacher about it and the teacher really had no idea that the instructions were not communicating well and she was able to modify what she was doing.

  • Reply Irene August 19, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Good luck Annabel!!! She might be just old enough to be self sufficient. The idea that a 5 year old (at least my 5 year old) could be is laughable. Well I’m firmly in the position that virtual kindergarten is a farce anyone who wants pretend otherwise is kidding themselves. I feel like my daughter is being robbed of this super important school year. Meanwhile all the day cares are open with no issues that I have heard of. Anyway…

    Funnily enough we are debating horseback riding lessons as a possible enrichment too. Either that or public (out door, masked) soccer lessons through our county. I feel like we need SOMETHING if it can be done safely

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns August 19, 2020 at 9:27 am

    It’s interesting to see her schedule! One complaint I’ve heard from parents is that their kids are done with all of their school work/instruction in about 2-3 hours… So what do you do with them for the rest of the day? I continue to be thankful that our son isn’t in school yet and daycare is open! We would for sure have to hire a nanny or tutor or send him to the K-2 program our school is doing if he was in school…

  • Reply Grateful Kae August 19, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Definitely looks like a full schedule! No morning break or recess though?? That seems like a long time to go in the morning with no break. I’m pretty sure my kids have always had a 15 minute morning recess in school. It will be interesting to see how transitions go, too. Like those 15 minute writing blocks… I feel like by the time the kids get situated after Math for the next thing, the 15 minutes could be up. Lol. Keep us posted! My kids go to a private school and will be going back in person in early September (though modified), so I’m out of the loop as to what exactly our local public schools are doing for virtual schedules. I’m curious how it will all work!

  • Reply omdg August 19, 2020 at 9:47 am

    That is one packed schedule!

    Also, yay on scheduling a riding lesson! I hope they enjoy it.

  • Reply Jen August 19, 2020 at 10:00 am

    I’ve been pondering activities too. My priority has been swimming lessons (I didn’t learn until i was an adult and it is very important for me for my kids to be comfortable and safe in the water) and they are starting up lessons mid-September but our daycare and school are starting up in-person Sept 1 and Sept 8. I feel like we should just give those a few weeks to settle out before we add in more. I guess we will wait until winter but it’s hard. I think the kids are also going to be tired from re-entry back into things after being home with us for so long.

  • Reply Dana August 19, 2020 at 10:07 am

    It’s interesting to hear that some people want a packed schedule that lasts the entire school day. For my son this would be a disaster. He can’t work independently, can’t sit anywhere near this long, and really doesn’t like zoom. I think we will have to negotiate a part time schedule for him. All day zoom school for the younger kids gets a thumbs down from me!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 19, 2020 at 10:08 am

      OHHHHH I do not want it. AT ALL. It just is what it is!!! I think (hope) Annabel will be able to handle it and focus. C is attending a different (in person private Montessori) school this year because I think it would have been a disaster.

  • Reply Laura A August 19, 2020 at 10:32 am

    Love the horseback riding! If she’s interested enough, Tuff Rider makes pretty good quality paddock boots, and Troxel makes great starter helmets. Also, FB Marketplace should have a good amount of riding attire! 🙂
    Fingers crossed that these next two weeks (and the rest of the school year, whatever it may look like) run smoothly for your family!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 19, 2020 at 11:30 am

      haha yes we have ZERO gear right now b/c i am waiting to see if it’s worth it!!!

      • Reply Horse &Home August 20, 2020 at 9:30 pm

        So glad your giving horse riding a go 🙂 I’m an avid rider and it has got me through many dreary days. Hope A enjoys it! You should give it a go also 😃🐴

  • Reply Emily August 19, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Wow. The lack of breaks in this schedule and so much time online seems crazy to me for 3rd grade! This just doesn’t seem like it’ll work for most kids. Although maybe that will quickly become apparent and teachers will end up building in some more breaks. My kids don’t go back for three more weeks so I haven’t seen their schedules yet but I have been dreading online learning this fall b/c even though it was a bit chaotic in the spring, I think I may end up looking back wistfully on the more asynchronous self-paced learning with lower expectations (my first grader was supposed to do 2.5 hours per day, and my kindergartner even less). I think trying to supervise them with a schedule like this while also working FT at home may kill me 🙂

  • Reply Alyssa August 19, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Came here to say this looks like very little recess for such a small person! Is that typical of schools in Florida? So interesting to see these differences!
    Elementary school children here have 15 mins mid morning, 45 mins after lunch, and another 15 mins mid afternoon- all of which is mandatory outdoor time (I think lightning is the only dealbreaker).. I still remember bundling up for -15degC recess as a kid… brr!

  • Reply Coco August 19, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    we also have a full school day distance learning schedule. i am a bit concerned about how much screen time it will be, and how much parental assistance will be needed.
    do you have a dedicated computer for her? how can you make sure she doesn’t spend time in FB or google? is there a way to limit usage?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 20, 2020 at 5:59 am

      It’s a school laptop – definitely doesn’t have facebook or any social media or games on it 🙂 Thankfully I think we have a year or two before this becomes a worry!

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