I was gonna switch gears a little tonight and post a family-friendly dinner recipe instead. But that ain’t what you’re getting. I’m sorry, but yes it’s another “virtual learning sucks” post. This time it’s about Easton.
So Easton really surprised me with virtual learning in the spring. He had an amazing teacher, like the best of the best, and he was (mostly) on the ball. He’d remember to get in to his meetings, and he did a great job completing his assignments. This year he’s in third grade and his teacher took a last minute leave of absence, so he has a substitute teacher. Since he did such a good job in the spring, I’ve been giving him a lot of freedom, just checking in on him here and there throughout the day. I’ve caught him going on other websites while he was supposed to be listening, but that was about it. I should mention that Easton has had attentional issues since kindergarten. He just really zones out when he’s not engaged, and can have trouble sitting still. Not anything enough for a diagnosis, but with the right teacher it’s easily managed.
Tonight, I got an email from his teacher saying that he’s opening up a lot of tabs all the time on his browser when he’s supposed to be paying attention, and he’s not handing in assignments. Mom guilt. I should have been keeping a closer watch on him. So I responded and thanked her for being on top of him, and that I’ve been checking in with him but I’ll do better. So Easton and I sat down with his chromebook and went over the assignments that were incomplete. There was a number of math pages and a writing assignment. I can’t even find the writing topic so we started tackling math pages. We got a good chunk of it done before bedtime, but it wasn’t without a lot of tears, complaints, etc. It took a lot of working through to get him to calm down and stop crying and do the math. He was mostly upset that he was missing iPad time to do it, but that’s the breaks kid.
We wrap up and he gets in to bed and the poor kid is just still so upset and my heart is weakening. He starts crying and says, “Mom i just want to go to school. I hate virtual learning. It’s boring and I don’t want to do it. It’s too hard.” UGH. I laid down with him and hugged him and cried with him, telling him, “I know baby. I know it’s hard. I know it’s not fun and I know you want to be back there. You’ll get to go on October 12th.” “But that’s so far away,” he says. “I just wish every day for the day to pass by faster so all the days will go by faster and I’ll get to go to school, but the days are going so slow and it feels like it’ll never get here.” It’s so hard to keep reassuring him. All the kid wants is to GO TO SCHOOL. He’s not crying because he has to do work. He’s crying because he needs to be in a classroom. He needs to be part of his school community again. He needs to see his teachers face to face and give them high fives or hugs. He needs to run around with his classmates and talk about whatever stuff nine year olds talk about.
And I can’t give it to him. I feel just completely powerless and unable to ease my child’s pain. I can only do so much by reminding him of the fun we can have each day, because the one glaring thing he’s missing is such a huge thing, that nothing can replace it for him. My son cried himself to sleep tonight. I feel helpless and hopeless.
My heart hurts. My children are hurting and I can’t fix it for them. And the worse part is, I don’t believe we should even be in this situation to begin with. My kids need to be in school. It’s not just about their education, it’s about their mental health, their growth and development, their maturation. Without school, they are just being deprived of so many opportunities to grow, in so many ways. And I can’t fix that.