This school year is going to be an unmitigated disaster. I wish I had better news or could be more optimistic.The plans I’m seeing from my own district and other districts are more and more discouraging every day.
If you aren’t a parent, consider sharing this with someone who is.
If you are a parent of a school-age child, and it is at all possible for you to homeschool, please do so.
And by homeschool, I don’t just mean your public school’s online option. If at all possible, please actually homeschool your child. If you can’t do that, then online will be better than in school.
Private school is also a good option if you find one that’s not just following in lockstep with the public school system.
I recognize this isn’t practical for everyone. I’m not claiming that it is.
But if you can, if you can rearrange things to make it work, PLEASE get your child out of the public school system before it completely collapses in on itself.
If you HAVE to send your child to in-person public school, it is vitally important that you be as involved as possible in your child’s education.
Specifically this year:
Make sure your child gets physical activity outside of school (preferably in the morning). Many schools will severely limit opportunities for movement in order to limit contact between students.
Learn about signs of mental health issues in children. This year will be especially stressful on your child, and with the current plans from most schools, the classroom is going to become a very isolating and demoralizing place. Encouraging social interaction with peers is KEY, because they won’t get it in school the way they normally do.
Keep your child home if they are sick. Even if they don’t have a fever. Schools will be EXTRA cautious this year and much more likely to send students home than in the past, so if you send your kid to school sick you’ll probably have to go later and pick them up.
Get to know the system your school is using for classwork and grades. This is called an “LMS” - learning management system. Many schools will be switching systems this year or shifting everything to one system to streamline things. Learn how to check grades, attendance, and missing work.
Talk to your child about behavior expectations. There will be a HUGE increase in the number of seemingly arbitrary rules this year, and many kids are going to feel the urge to push back. There are two ways you can approach this issue:
Emphasize the importance of respecting authority and following rules, and establish at-home consequences if there are behavior problems in school. The teachers will appreciate your support, as they are going to be overwhelmed trying to enforce all the new rules.
If option 1 sounds terrifying and you don’t want your child to mindlessly comply with bad, unjust, arbitrary rules as an adult, you can use this year as an object lesson in how civil disobedience can be used to enact change. Just make sure to prepare your child for the consequences they will face and be clear on how you will support them. And of course, don’t force them. Let them learn how to pick their battles.
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