The New Normal! #VirtualLearning
Can you believe we have been inside for most of the year? I never thought that this would be how 2020 would go but I’m thankful my family is healthy and we are working hard to stay as happy as possible. As we are well into our 2nd month of distance learning, I can’t help but think about the huge adjustment it has been for us all in so many ways.
As you know, have a five-year-old, four-year-old, and an almost-two-year-old. Trying to keep them active has been a challenge for sure. While they are so smart, they really can’t understand what is truly going on. I can’t count how many times they’ve asked to go to Chuck E’ Cheese or Kidz World.
It’s really hard for them to not complain about always being home but I have been trying my best to have fun activities inside and in our backyard. We paint, have picnics, plant things in the garden and I try to explain to them about sickness being outside right now. When I say this, they start to understand why wearing their masks when we do have to run to the store is so important.
My five-year-old daughter, Makaela, was supposed to start kindergarten this year and while that technically happened, it is not the way I’ve always imagined. As with most NFL families, we split our time between Houston and LA. However, we decided to enroll her in school in LA because while it might be our football hometown, we end up spending most of our time there. While it made the most sense, as a product of Houston schools, both private and public, I know that she could have benefitted from the diversity available in Houston. When both districts announced they would be 100% remote, I thought about enrolling her in a Houston school or even keeping the kids back in Texas for this season but when we were able to buy a house in LA, I knew that we needed to be together as a family and enjoy the achievement.
Our four-year-old middle child, Makhi was supposed to start pre-k4 and due to their age, his school still had in-person classes. I thought about having him go but ultimately decided that it would be too much to take him, prep Makaela for her classes and then turn right around and pick him up. We are prepping him at home and his curriculum is similar to his sister’s by starting with Bible stories and then interactive learning that includes math and reading. Makaela is able to stay focused by Makhi has a harder time staying engaged so we limit his school time to two hours. While they are doing all of this, I am so thankful that my almost-two-year-old can be in the playroom and stay occupied.
The greatest thing that I have enjoyed about virtual learning is not having to rush the kids out of the house every morning as well as packing lunches. Besides packet pickup/drop off every other week, our days are less hectic and much easier to manage. I also love being able to listen and monitor what my daughter’s teacher is teaching. Being so close to her all day allows me to be able to pick up on any biases or values she might have that I don’t agree with. It is so important to know what if she’s passing that on those to my child. The only change I wish I could make is to increase child to child interaction. MaKaela is very much a social butterfly already, which is different from me, but I love her for it.
Most importantly, MaKaela has been adapting really well to virtual learning and really enjoys using her own mini laptop for it. Moving forward and hopefully implementing face to face schooling safely, I look forward to my children experiencing physical interactions with other kids in school as well as in my opinion- learning better. But I will miss being as involved as I am currently. There is always a trade-off and with everything that has happened this year, I’m so thankful my kids that all my kids know is they miss their friends and Chuck E Cheese.