life Parenting

5 on a Friday: School Edition!

September 4, 2020

1- G & C are happy to be back

Yep, those 2 headed back earlier this week! A is home (hence the bare feet in her back to school portrait). The pic shown of G was taken as she eagerly ran back into the classroom.

So far, so good for those 2!

C has 7 kids in his class (6 boys). G has 10. So they are kind of like . . .giant pods?

(As I noted, this is the same Montessori school G attended last year for preschool. We had considered the idea of moving C over there anyway just for learning style reasons, and when the pandemic moved all Broward public schools online for the fall this helped us make the decision. I fully recognize the privilege inherent our ability to make this choice, and have some feelings of guilt about, but I also feel like it is the right choice for C and our family.)

2- Masks

Cameron is required to wear a mask (and we’re happy about this!) so this is a new normal step – making sure he has one on PLUS a backup one in his lunch bag. We are using the Crayola ones (they are a podcast sponsor and I liked the product, so I ordered more). We will see how long they last after going through the washing machine with each use, though.

For G, masks are optional and the toddlers are generally not wearing them (the children in her class are 18 months – 3 years). I started to send her in one, but she was not keeping it on and I am not convinced proper wear is really possible in her age group.

3- I am not micromanaging A‘s online work and neither is our nanny. To be honest, I’m not really managing her at all; she’s managing herself. The teacher seems capable of explaining expectations and she seems capable of following through. We do talk about what she is learning (the 7 continents + 4 oceans yesterday!). My current plan is to basically not get involved other than a cursory check in every week or so. She is at an age where she enjoys school and wants to please her teacher, and her technology abilities are where they need to be to navigate online learning essentially on her own.

I think back to my own 3rd grade experience. My mother did not work at that time, and I am pretty sure she did zero micromanaging of my school or homework. Why are things/expectations so different now? I certainly developed the capability to learn, plan and manage myself over time . . . Just something to think about.

(Yes, it depends on the kid — both personality and age! C would need much MUCH closer supervision if he were online learning at home.)

A does wish her school was in person and is hoping the transition happens sooner rather than later. For the record, we offered to send her with C&G (just to be fair) but she wanted to stay with her class & 2 close friends in particular.

4- Behavior. On the whole, the kids have been better behaved since starting new routines with more sleep and less screen time (though still some). Last night was the best night we have had in a while. This is making me hopeful.

Over the summer, they were all going to bed ~9-9:30 and waking up 7-8 am. I figured this was okay since they were sleeping as long as they wanted, but . . . who knows. Last night all 3 were in bed by 8:30. It was lovely to get to read in bed without immediately falling asleep!

5- Nap. G is learning to nap at school which means . . she hasn’t really been napping. I guess we will see what happens with that! Anyway, this is part of the shifted sleep schedule. She is 2.75 years old, and the other 2 gave up naps right around the 3rd birthday (or really, we stopped encouraging a nap b/c it obliterated any drive to go to bed at a reasonable hour).

If this is the end . . . well, I’ll be sad. But I will work hard at enforcing some kind of quiet time. Because on weekends . . . I need it!

How’s school going for everyone else?


  • Reply Hannah N. September 4, 2020 at 6:44 am

    Our county (in MD) doesn’t start until Tuesday. We decided to send our son, who will be starting Kindergarten, to a pod/day camp situation and I am SO nervous! Mostly about someone not being immediately available if he mutes himself or clicks on the wrong application at the wrong time. I think mostly I just don’t know what to expect. We got our county-issued Chromebook yesterday and I had S practice typing in his log in information, which went. . . .OK ha. We’ll see! Hope everyone else is navigating OK!

  • Reply Gillian September 4, 2020 at 7:36 am

    My kids start on Tuesday (NY). We are 100% in person in our small suburban district with an option for distance learning. Only 10% of families in our district opted for distance learning, a fact I think is due to how well our school district planned and communicated for a return to school in person. My kids are so excited to return to the classroom. We have a supply of masks for all 4 of them and the district issuing Chrome books to all in case there is a need for distance learning in the future (I am sure there will be disruptions this year, but hopefully nothing like the Spring). Here goes nothing.

  • Reply Sophia September 4, 2020 at 7:55 am

    We are sending our older 2 kids (pre-k and 4th grade) to private school which starts next Wednesday. They are excited to go and we are excited to have them out of the house. Our public school is opening 2 weeks late and remote with plans to be hybrid by late October but honestly the numbers here are low (northeast with a 1% positivity rate locally) and if they aren’t opening at all in September, we became concerned about an all-remote school year. We are new to this school district and didn’t think that an all remote year would be good for our kids (or us!). I do feel bad that a lack of local, state and federal leadership has made school reopening so problematic but also want to do what was best for our family.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns September 4, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Glad their return to school has been good so far. A sounds like a little upholder – she must take after mom! I was an upholder from a very young age so I, too, would have done ok in this virtual school environment. It’s not ideal but some personalities can still thrive in that environment. I think most don’t, though. So I am glad you had this other option for C. Virtual school for early elementary is so dang hard!!! I hope G starts to nap better! Our son actually naps pretty well at school. He napped better in the toddler room where they sleep on cots than he did in the infant room which surprised me. I really hope he will continue to nap through age 3 as we’ll have a 3 month old when he turns 3 so I’d like that afternoon break from parenting him! But even if he drops a nap, I think we’ll still try for quiet time in his room if he drops a nap, though. We’ll see if that works!

  • Reply Shelly September 4, 2020 at 8:45 am

    I’m in Canada, an hour north of North Dakota. We also start on Tuesday Sep 8 (our usual back to school timing) to public school. My kids gr 3 and 5 are going back full time. My oldest will be required to wear a mask where they can’t distance and I will send a mask as well for my youngest. We don’t have the option of distance learning (only those that have a medical note can opt to learn at home). Otherwise we would have had to apply to homeschool and with working full time from home, I can’t do it. I’m not sure I would do it even if I had the time!
    I have pandemic fatigue. It comes and goes but with all the planning for reentry for my kids and all the online converting I’m doing for the college courses I teach, it has been tiring.

  • Reply Kristina September 4, 2020 at 9:02 am

    So glad that it sounds like it was a good first week! I’ve been looking for an actual review of the Crayola masks (I realize they are a sponsor…) In particular, about whether they stay over the nose. Would love an update, particularly post-washing. Hope things continue to go well!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns September 4, 2020 at 9:14 am

    Oh and I wanted to make another comment about parent involvement in homework. I do not think I had homework until 5th grade. I am fairly certain anything that was sent home in early elementary was ‘for fun’ and given that I’m a total geek/nerd, I would probably do it but it was never required and involved zero involvement from my parents. Even in 5th grade I do not remember my mom sitting down with me to work on homework. I remember sitting at our DR table and working on things while my sister worked on homework, but it was completely independent. Randomly, I’ve had several conversations this week with friends about how different our generation of parents is from our parents. We have a way more child-centered approach to parenting it seems. I think it will result in closer relationships with our kids, but I think it puts more pressure on the parents, who are potentially already stretched thin! Granted, I was 1 of 5 kids so my parents (who both worked and ran a demanding business together) did not have time to sit down and work on homework with us or play on the floor with us… We were kind of expected to entertain ourselves or play with our siblings. But it’s just kind of a different ball game these days. I’ve been super disappointed to hear that kindergarteners come home with homework. That just seems inappropriate for that age. That said, I am not an educator – I work in finance. So maybe I don’t understand why they need homework at that young of an age. In my opinion, the only directives for at home learning should be to read with their parents! *steps off soap box – ha!*

    • Reply Jennifer Robertson September 5, 2020 at 11:48 am

      Appreciate your perspective. I really struggle with this. I have a 5th grader and 6th grader and find that I cannot let them handle everything on their own, that is unless I’m okay with all Cs, which I’m not, I could really use an expert’s advice on this but can’t find much on the web.

      • Reply Megan September 6, 2020 at 11:47 pm

        I’m curious if this is due to lack of effort or another factor? If it’s another factor, then addressing that underlying issue would be my priority. If it’s motivation then I would make something contingent on making a B average over the semester and let them work out the consequences. Better to learn it now, than in high school.

        • Reply Jennifer Robertson September 8, 2020 at 9:37 am

          It’s due to a number of reasons, but generally it’s due to one child having ADHD and one child who is in 5th grade which is a difficult year at our school. Also, neither of them know how to study and I’m not sure how to teach them. Studying now is me quizing them. The need to learn to study on their own, but I haven’t found anyone to teach them that yet.

  • Reply Jen September 4, 2020 at 9:53 am

    So glad to hear that your family is transitioning well! Our daycare opened this week so our 3 year old went back. He’s loving it so it’s a relief. But we still have our 7-year old home until school starts for her on September 17. So we are trying to keep her busy while we work but it’s amazing that even with just one out of the house (my parents had been coming and watching the kids) that my focus for work seems different already.

  • Reply Erin September 4, 2020 at 10:26 am

    Kids (K, 3rd, 5th) start on Tuesday…. public school in MN, first ring suburb and we’re all virtual to start (for at least a month and we’ll likely choose distance after that). Totally have no clue how we’ll manage with both parents working but we’re really lucky to have supportive, flexible bosses and an ability to create our own schedules (although I still have to do appointments). The school has left much to be desired in the way of communication but I realize they are trying their best!!

  • Reply Heather September 4, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    I think greater parental involvement stems from several factors. There are many more parents now who advocate for their children who have learning disabilities, IEPs, and 504s. Twenty years ago, many of these disabilities just never came up in an educational setting. I think, also, people are just more demanding in general. Parents expect teachers to almost be at the beck and call of their needs and expectations. When this doesn’t happen, parents (in some cases) immediately voice their displeasure to higher ups. And, I guess it’s just more popular to be a helicopter parent Involved in all the things than it was when I was a kid.

    Although, I teach seventh grade, which is an age most parents try to pullback. However, they quickly discover that their children still need them and will sometimes lie to them about school…haha.

  • Reply Ann September 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    Started online school this past Monday (CA). No in school plans until things get better…someday. My 2nd grader sounds like A, he wants to please his teacher and us. We’re working with him on ways to write down and check off the things he has to do so he doesn’t always need us to remind him but he’s doing great. I have zero desire to be a helicopter parent.

    Last year, before the pandemic, his school sent out a communication to basically ban parents from dropping forgotten things off at the school midday. Apparently, each day there was a ridiculous number of parents bringing forgotten homework, musical instruments, water bottles, etc to school and it was super disruptive. I loved that the school said STOP IT and let the kids be responsible for themselves.

  • Reply Alison September 4, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    We are on day 2 of remote school for my K, 1st and 3rd graders (plus 3-year-old hanging out). I stay home so am there with them, but agree that my 3rd grader does not need much, if any, help or supervision. 1st grader is very responsible but has needed some technology help. Kindergartner….now he is a different story! His teacher is so great but he really needs me checking in regularly to keep him on task, and definitely needs hands-on help with things like writing. The first two days were half days for the younger two but I think next week with full days is going to be tough. The teachers are really doing everything they can to make this work well, but certain personalities and ages are just challenging.

  • Reply Coco September 4, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    my second grader is also super independent and do zero micromanaging. i think it’s important for their to independent develop curiosity and responsibility on her things. this week she needed glue and she didn’t remind me over the weekend so on monday I told her it was not my fault, it was her responsibility to remind me until I buy it. So since monday she reminds me everyday. hahaha….

  • Reply Sarah K September 4, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    I feel like you are almost apologizing for sending your kids to private school. I don’t think you should be ashamed of your choice. You have worked super hard to get the income that allows you to have this option for your kids. If you are privileged now, a lot of it is surely due to your own hard work in years past.

  • Reply Lani Inlander September 5, 2020 at 10:06 am

    My 3rd grader was also self sufficient this past week during the first week of school, which was such a relief! The 1st grader still needs help with what time he needs to get back after breaks on so I am having to continually monitor that situation. We also had a Zoom meltdown (not wanting to get back on) once a day for the first few days, but then he settled in. It helped to stay with him for the first few minutes of the session until he was comfortable. Fingers crossed, things are going way better than expected. Less screen time, more sleep and the stricter schedule of school have helped immensely with my kids’ moods also. We are not pod-ding with anyone but have hired a babysitter to take the kids out for a few hours of running around outside after school every day with a close friend. This gets them the exercise, socialization, and fresh air they need, erases the need for most screen time, and gives me some work time. Or at least it will when we finally settle into a routine, which I hope will start this week. All in all, I am hopeful! Our district has declared virtual school until November but seeing as how we are in a major metropolitan area (DC), I don’t expect to go back until at least January, if at all this year.

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