Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Not For the Faint of Heart

Yesterday the kids and I began our second six weeks - or our second grading period - of virtual school. Back in July we opted in to virtual school for the first six weeks, and then a couple of weeks ago we had to make the call about what we wanted for the kids for the second six weeks. While our school district has actually done a fairly good job of keeping the number of cases low, there have still been cases in the schools and the overall number of active cases in our area continues to rise...primarily because TAMU hasn't had the same level of success. As college students make up a significant percentage of the Bryan College Station population and share fully this community with us, we decided to wait another "round" before returning to in-person school in hopes that the number of cases among 18-24 year olds will soon begin to decrease.

When I brought up our decision with Will and Hallie, neither complained; in fact, both agreed that we'd made the right choice. 

That's not to say, however, that I haven't - at least a handful of times throughout the last six weeks - thought to myself, "THEY'RE GOING BACK TO SCHOOL TOMORROW". Virtual school is HARD, harder than I anticipated, for all three of us.

Those are actual tears.

BUT...I don't want to dwell on the challenges and problems. We're learning and growing in ways we didn't expect, figuring out new and innovative ways to work together and solve problems, and doing our absolute best to maintain a positive attitude, keep the lines of communication open, and offer only productive, constructive feedback to our school administrators and teachers. 

AND...there are a few silver linings Besides the obvious in that I feel like they're safer and we're collectively safer as a family, here are a few positives:

Will can eat a healthy breakfast. When he went straight from cross country practice to the locker room to school, Will ate a Lara bar and drank a box of dark chocolate soy milk for breakfast almost every day. We tried a few other options, but anything that tasted better warm, tasted better cold, or could get squished in a backpack proved less than desirable. Now he goes to cross country practices, attends his on-site athletics period, and comes home, where he can shower and eat a healthier, more well-rounded breakfast before starting the lengthy academic portion of his day. 

Though Will's days are LONG (he studies from 9:30am until at least 5:30/6pm, working through lunch and stopping only for in-person orchestra and eventually dinner and soccer practice), but he's - for the most part - happy. He likes breaking up the computer work with the in-person classes and being able to work independently, peacefully, and quietly in his own room when not at school.

Hallie can sleep in until 7:30am. (Not Will though. Maybe when cross country season wraps.)

Hallie almost always finishes her schoolwork before what would be the end of her in-person school day, and she uses this extra time in her day to craft, bake, and read. She also likes to ride with me when I pick up groceries, shuttle Will to and from school for orchestra, and knock out other errands. She doesn't like to work on her typing. (Too bad, kid - it's the greatest skill you'll ever learn and someday you'll thank me for making you practice.)

Hallie almost always goes into dance happy. Because we have more flexibility in our day, when I drop her off at 4:15pm for her first class, she's hydrated, she's fed, and she doesn't have homework hanging over her head because we had plenty of time to prepare for the afternoon/evening of classes.

She's smiling under there.

Hallie LOVES having all the time in the world to work on the artistic component of academic projects, a detail that sometimes feels rushed or takes a backseat to the actual "work" (as it should, but not in Hallie's opinion) if/when projects are completed at school.

Last but of course not least...Tux and kitten snuggles.

Virtual school is not for the faint of heart, and anyone who says otherwise hasn't actually tried it (or fully committed to it). But a few special moments and appreciated experiences have come out of this time, and for that, I'm grateful. 

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