August 13, 2020

back to school 2020

This school year will be another unlike any other. 

School was supposed to start July 22. Our district asked every family to decide if they wanted to their kids to go to school in person or online. Then due to Covid restrictions in the state, schools couldn't open until August 17th. Our district then decided to start everyone online on August 5th. Then those who wanted to transition to in person could. Our two weeks of break in the fall and in the spring were shortened to one week. As we were starting virtual school, our district changed the plan again and decided kids wouldn't be returning to school until at least second quarter.

I don't want my feelings and thoughts to distract from the purpose of this post--which is to celebrate the beginning of a new school year for my children. But I can't write this without expressing how strongly I feel that families should be given the option to start in person school or not. It worries me sick to think of the children with special needs or experiencing abuse and neglect and the vital role our schools play in the lives of those kiddos. Children NEED schools. Virtual teaching is not real teaching. It is a very, very poor substitute at best and a joke and waste of time at worst. Teachers are amazing and their hard work shows, but kids need real connection and real assessment, scaffolding, and experiences to do their best learning. I do feel optimistic about this school year and there is much that we are blessed with and I know we will be ok. But I worry about kids across our country and the decisions that are being made on their behalf without their voice.

Rant over.

Because we are ready for a great school year no matter how different it looks!
Back to school photos took place on all different days and at all different times. Which is reflective of the year.

Layla girl is in 3rd grade now! She is starting at our new neighborhood school this year. It will be/has been a whole new experience for us as it is a traditional model of teaching and the kids all wear uniforms. We really wanted her to attend our neighborhood school, but I have been very unsure of the "traditional" approach and I am so not a fan of uniforms at all. But we prayed and talked about it and we let Layla make the decision. She was nervous when she first started thinking about changing schools, but, after we discussed the options with her, she accepted the invitation to think about it on her own and then pray about it. After that, she came to us with peace and confidence that she had decided to attend this new school. We are proud of her for learning how to make a big decision. 

She picked a new backpack. She opted for a more grown up look this year.

Even though her school days have been all at home, she has chosen to wear her school uniforms just about every day. And no shoes.

She has four times a day that she is supposed to meet with her teacher and class for instruction. If we miss a meet, which we do at least once every single day, then she can watch the recorded lessons. But usually I just teach her the lesson myself. Sometimes that happens at 8pm at night. She doesn't mind doing school work at night if it means she can stay up a little longer. Haha. She has a list of assignments to complete each day. Thankfully, we did get two laptops from the school district to borrow for the year. That has worked out because we definitely do not have enough devices for four kids at one time to be learning virtually.

This sweet boy is in 4th grade! I can not believe how much he has grown up. It is weird to think that he is not in his early childhood days anymore. He has a new teacher this year. He goes to in person learning two times a week in the morning. The other days he has a short meet with his teacher and class and a few paper/pencil assignments. It is quick and easy. Maybe a little too easy. But I am hoping that we will find a groove and his teacher will get to know him better and we will be able to help him learn and grow a lot. Thankfully, we have found an awesome respite provider who can be here in the mornings when he doesn't have school to help Perry stay on task and working towards his goals.

Perry has been really excited to play with friends a couple of times each week. He loves listening to Harry Potter on audible every night, too. He is becoming more independent in the kitchen and with his time and that is a lovely thing to see. This guy brings a lot of love to our family.

Kacin is a sophomore! This is going to be a good year for this guy. He is happy and confident. He has a good class schedule. He decided to join cross country and he is continuing on with wrestling. He is a sweet, fun guy to be around. He is maturing so much. I am proud of him and excited to see all that he will do this year.

He opted to take two of his classes online and then if school ever resumes in person then he will have four classes and seminary in person.

And this guy is starting his Junior year. How is that so?? I hope he gets to live it up this year! 
Kyler is wise and hardworking. He has a good mix of interesting classes. And a job. He is running cross country and will do wrestling again, too.

He is doing a similar schedule to Kacin with a couple classes online the whole year and the other classes will be in person as soon as that can happen. 

It's a very untraditional back to school, but we really are making the best of it. We are staying flexible, but working hard. This will be a good year!!