Thursday, July 30, 2020

School

I’ve had such a good time up in Maryland but I have been mentally hammered down with school decision making for this upcoming year.  

First Grady - 
His school/daycare was starting back August 4th hence why I came up here this week versus next.  Well I arrive here last Thursday and get a call from the director of his school that says his classroom doesn’t have the teachers until mid September because of various reasons. Okay fine, I can deal with that since I’ve done it since March.  She told me who they were and my friend’s daughter had these teachers last year and they’re amazing!  So, easy decision to wait it out and honestly, I would have waited for any teacher. We are in weird times and the least I could do is have patience. But still, not what I was expecting. He is much harder to have home with me while I work because of his age. I do have two other babysitters that will still be here and not off to college thankfully!  

Then Wednesday I get another call from the director that says they have a spot for him to start Tuesday and it was likely with a certain teacher etc. I was stoked.  But then another teacher called me to set up our meet the teacher meeting and I just knew after one conversation it wasn’t the right fit.  And this is coming from someone who thinks this school and ALL of its teachers hung the moon.  So clearly something was going on. Anyway, on Thursday, after a lot of (likely unnecessary) stress on my part they were able to move him to ANOTHER room that starts on Tuesday.  I felt terrible about the whole thing but my mom group of moms from the same school really encouraged me to do what I knew would be best for Grady. Along with some other folks. Anyway, he is set now. I think.  Kevin is going to the school meeting tomorrow for further details!

Molly Anne - 
I know this is semi controversial and I honestly do not feel like I have to validate our reasons to anyone.  But I want to look back here and have it written down so I remember what this was like. And also maybe it helps someone else going through a similar situation?

This is the deal - we live in a county outside of Charlotte. They announced a couple of weeks ago that they would be doing one day a week in person and the rest of the days of the week virtual. We happened to have her well visit the next day and I spoke to her pediatrician about it...he works at a large practice in Charlotte. He told me every pediatrician in their group thinks schools should be open for in person every day and he would send his children. I trust him implicitly and that’s all I needed.  He had said the same for Grady needing to get back to school. I also listened to Molly Anne’s very first pediatrician’s podcasts and news specials and she agreed. It was a no brainer to me at this point that she needed to be in school.  

So here are the facts - 
- she was registered for Kindergarten in February and attended the orientation and has been soooo excited. 
- she has a late birthday in the “everyone in Charlotte holds their kids back” world. Literally it’s a thing here.
- no one knows when Covid will be better and everyone’s life is back to normal. 

Back in early July, I put Molly Anne on the wait list for Kindergarten at the school she had been for two years and where Grady will be. I knew they’d be in person with no masks in the classroom. 

Then we found out what our county was doing so we researched some private schools just in case.  We talked to a lot of people. We then decided that we didn’t want her going to a private school for one year then moving back to public. Kevin was the one that brought this up and I completely agreed. There were some other issues we had with private too. Cut off dates for admission and paying for private but then going remote too. Nothing was guaranteed. So private school was kind of out for us. 

Then when the director called me about Grady last week I asked her about opening more Kindergarten classes and she told me they wouldn’t be.  So that was out. Then I emailed the admissions lady and she told me there was a TK spot open. This is where I was off the ledge of sanity and could not figure out what to do!  

From Friday until Tuesday Kevin and I talked and I talked to friends. And my parents. And teachers. And Molly Anne’s old teachers. And more friends. And educators I trust implicitly.  

Ultimately, Kevin and I decided she was going to Kindergarten at our nearby elementary school and we were going to stick it out with one day a week in person and the rest remote.  

Here are some key reasons:
1.  Kevin really felt strongly that going back to TK would be holding her back. Literally, holding Molly Anne back from advancing. Kevin doesn’t speak up much and usually leaves this stuff up to me because he knows I’m a freak about it all. But when Kevin speaks up, I listen. And he always has good thoughts on things. And typically always solves my hardest problems!!
2.  Sending her back to her old school with her friends was comfortable for all of us, but was it the right decision for her?  Sometimes we have to go out of our comfort zone. 
3.  We want her to graduate with the class of 2033. I don’t want this stupid virus to dictate her next 12 years and for her to be behind where she should be. Look, I get it. Everyone is going to be changed by this virus but I want to do everything in my power to make life normal for my kids.  
4.  Another option we had was for her to do TK then go straight to 1st grade.  North Carolina is one of 6 states to not require Kindergarten but knowing my luck, they’d change the law next year. So this decided it for us because for her to graduate in 2033 then going to the elementary school for Kindergarten was the only sure way this would happen. 
5.  Molly Anne has always wanted to be a big kid. She has always played with older kids. She doesn’t venture to the younger side as much. She needs the challenge of older influences. She does well with that I think. This sorta reverts back to #1 above. 
6.  We LOVE the principal at the elementary school and I know he’s going to do everything in his power to have an amazing school year. I actually spoke to him on the phone yesterday and he is so good.  I feel comfortable with Molly Anne being there with him. 
7.  I know Kindergarten is supposed to be a special year and all of that. And I know that’s not going to be the case this year. But it’s not for anyone or any grade. It’s just how it is. And I’m fine with that. And Molly Anne has been in school/daycare her whole life. She’s fine. It will be special. She picked out a new backpack to get and we went to Target and bought school supplies!  She loved it. And it also helps that she has nothing to compare it to so it’ll be normal for her. 
8.  We don’t know what next year will bring. I can tell you one thing - if we had held her back this year and then next August it’s the same deal, I would be not a happy camper!!  I won’t be first in line for a vaccine and I haven’t heard of anyone that would be. So how does this dramatically get better other than time?!  And how do we predict that?  
9.  Fortunately I did not let the fact that we do need childcare get in the way of doing what’s best for Molly Anne. Yes, we are two working parents and I’m eternally thankful for my flexible job and amazing company. But at the end of the day, we want what’s best for Molly Anne. Would it have been easy for me to send her back to the same school where Grady is (one drop off and one pick up) with full time childcare for her?  Yes!  Taking that out of the equation, was it right?  No. I don’t think so at least. I’m confident in our decision but who knows what it’s all going to end up looking like. The unknown is so hard for the planner in me and I know for a lot of my friends too!!

So yeah, I hope we made the right decision and after weighing pros and cons of it all, I feel good about it.

How do we plan to keep her socialized? 

- lots of activities: gymnastics, swimming, maybe tennis, set playdates. Being intentional about socialization. 

How do we plan to do school with her all day?
- well this is a wait and see. Supposedly it can all be on demand if need be but I do think the live instruction is crucial on her remote days.  I need to get a better handle on actual time that will be required. They say 4-5 hours per day but I can’t truly know this until we get into it. We have an amazing babysitter that is going to help us on a set schedule once we figure out what that looks like. 
- it also depends what my work is doing and how often we are supposed to be at the office.  And if I’m traveling again. A lot of unknowns that I’m taking day by day. 

Anyway, this is our story. Everyone has a different story and reason for what they do. At the end of the day you gotta do what’s best for you and your family. There is no right answer. It’s some crazy times friends and you can only do what you can do!  You do you and don’t judge!  We are all doing the best we can. 

5 comments:

Maggie said...

I think that this is absolutely the best thing for her. With all of the uncertainty in the world, with all of the unknowns and what-abouts, starting her in K however it shakes out to be, is going to allow for some modifications in the future if the world gets any crazier than it already is. As a parent of a class of 2020 h.s. grad, with younger ones still in school, I am constantly monitoring the state of education. I think you guys are doing the best with an awful situation, hang in there!

Jennifer said...

You're doing wonderfully, Mama!! Clearly caring & raise her best you can <3 And we live in another state, but our ped. said the same ;) Now to live out well your choices! Have a wonderful year!!

Holly said...

I 100% support this as a public school teacher. My little boy is an August baby, and we will not hold him back. I know it has been so hard-all of my friends have asked for advice. Thank you for supporting public schools! We will be doing our best to make it a great year for kids.

Lisa Sipka said...

Hi there, I’m a sometime reader,‘don’t comment much but wanted to say that you are obviously putting your kids best interests into mind as well as their individual needs - and I promise you they will be FINE. You know your kids better than anyone so trust your gut. Either way- kids are resilient and they will be fine! Best of luck to you all! And wonderful that you are supporting the public schools - I know everyone can’t (for many reasons) but given that you can ,I’m glad that you are !

Ali Barkley said...

I think your plan is great and agree 100% that everyone has to do what’s right for them - and this is right for you! Big time thank you for putting this out there with all the supporting facts! It’s really made me think about how all of the options/wait lists/processes are different for EVERYONE! Best of luck for a wonderful school year. I truly enjoy this blog and following along on your fun adventures!