As you know, I have been schooling at home since March and we have continued that in limited style throughout the summer break. We start a new school year in about three weeks, a week ahead of the planned calendar from last year due to COVID-19 related interruptions. Baby J; no longer a baby, will be in 1st grade, and my little one; who is no longer quite so little, will be in Pre-K.
After discussing ad nauseam, the School Board finally decided to proceed with 9-weeks of remote learning, and left discusions on plans for re-opening schools for in-class attendance for another day. I am grateful that they decided to do 9 instead of the previously considered 5-weeks but my hope is for them to continue remote learning for the rest of the year. To their credit, our school district did develop two virtual academies to give parents the choice to enroll their kids there but enrolling Jai to a virtual academy would stress me out even more given that I would have to be the one to motivate him to work and get his stuff done.
Of course, having him do remote learning through his usual school doesn’t mean I have to do any less of the work but at least the teachers are local and if I really need to, I can perhaps meet with the teacher, socially distanced. Besides, I really do think GOING to school is the best option for him. He needs social interaction although he is doing and in fact, thriving very well, without much of it. Still, for a 6-year-old, life is just a little more exciting when he has other people his age with whom to play and from whom to learn new skills.
So, after a great deal of thought and consideration, we will be sticking with our local school, doing the 9-weeks of remote learning, and depending on what the school decides, take a decision around that time. At the time, we will have no choice but to decide whether to send him back to school or withdraw his enrollment there and THEN enroll him in the virtual academy OR (heaven forbid!!) register a homeschool and start homeschooling him for this academic year!
Because in NC, I don’t need to even register him for school (or homeschool) until he is 7, I will have time after their October 20th (when 9-weeks of remote learning ends) to decide whether or not I want to homeschool him.
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Meanwhile, in order to make learning and content more interesting, I invested in a bunch of new educational toys for homeschooling both kids. For Jai, I got:
- We will be starting our Money Module soon. I have had him do “school work” throughout his summer vacation to prevent the summer slide and to keep his brain churning. His regular school curriculum will cover money but I wanted him to have a headstart and for this purpose, I purchased –
Learning Resources Money Activity Set
2.For everyday number recognition and for reinforcing the ability to know to count until 120, Wooden Toys Hundred Board
3. For analytical thinking, Wooden Blocks Puzzle Brain Teasers
BABY E – As for E, her preschool never closed down, staying open so parents of essential workers and have-to-work-professionals can continue sending their kids. However, I did withdraw her from her school and have kept her home since March. I will continue to do so till the end of the year, at least.
In January, unless the COVID situation desperately deteriorates, she will be going back to school primarily for two reasons: (1) I want her to have her 5th birthday celebrated with her friends from school and assuming everything is back up and open, hold a party for her at the same place we did for her big brother when he turned 5; and (2) I want her to have her Pre-K graduation ceremony.
I know that in the grand scheme of things and health, these two events are relatively insignificant, and yet, I cherish these for her. She may have no memories of these events when she is older but I will remember and I want my last child to get everything her older brother did.
Growing up in India, at least in my minority community of Indians, the 5th birthday was always a big deal which is why I want my child to have her day; however, also growing up in India, we never had preschool graduation ceremonies. I have even ridiculed these unnecessary events but since having my own kids, changed my mind, if for nothing, but the cuteness factor. Seeing them walk in their graduation gowns, do a few performances, and then collect their “diplomas” is just such an adorable thing to watch!! I want Baby E to have these pictures and experiences.
All of January and what may follow notwithstanding, for now, I will be homeschooling E with a Pre-K curriculum. These are the educational toys I bought for E:
The kids have started playing with their new educational toys for homeschooling already and seem excited about their purpose in their educational journeys. I am excited for them.
I look forward to the new year, with trepidation, but with excitement and hope.