So it’s been a long fall with virtual learning. How are your kids doing? Here is how my Harriet is faring.

#virtuallearnning #susanstrasser #amwriting #susanstrasserblog

Hybrid school is available next month and my local school system wants me to vote yes or no as to whether or not I want to enroll my children during the worst COVID spike ever!

Like millions of other parents around the country, my husband and I have been doing this song-and-dance all year : Do we or don’t we? It started with summer camps, continued with my son’s choice to go to hybrid kindergarten and now this. Yes or no. Stay or go.

For some reason my 5th grade daughter, Harriet, thought we were automatically going to hybrid school (2 days a week). When the survey came out a week ago, as usual, we were an adamant “no.” It makes sense. The Thanksgiving spike is happening now, the Christmas spike will happen around New Year’s…

So Monday, I brought up the issue at dinner. I asked her why she wanted to go back, and she said “to see her friends.” Okay, not rocket science. Or is it? She is 10. And children need their peers. She is a ‘tween, too. Not that a kindergartener like my son, Liam, needs other kids any less, but something happened inside me that I did not recognize with my daughter’s seemingly simple dissent.

I believe that being 10 is a crucial year in a girl’s life. Glennon Doyle talks about it in her latest book, and my I-Mom newsletter talked about it lately, too. The inner groundwork of who my daughter is mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, and most likely will be, will essentially grow from 5th-9th grades. My daughter is not the most confident person. Neither am I. I work at it, and try to help foster her self esteem, too. Yes, I’m looking at my own experiences. No, she is not me. Two of my favorite secondary school teachers were my 6th and 7th grade ones. I still keep in touch with one!

Virtual school has hurt my daughter’s grades. She got straight As a year ago at this time. Now it is a struggle for her to maintain Bs and Cs in her main subjects. Last week, she had As and Bs in all her subjects except for Reading or Math. She had an F! I heard and saw her yell at herself. It was painful to observe. So I let her be upset for a moment and then asked her what she could do about it. I reassured her that she could probably fix it. The same thing happened to me in one subject in 7th grade. I could relate. It got me thinking about how she learns.

Children enter puberty earlier and I just happen to be furloughed and more readily available to help my daughter these days with learning and emotional challenges. Another one of those COVID mixed blessings. I have taught her how to check her email, notifications and grades, as well as how to respond to teachers’ emails. Yes, I will reach out to my kids’ teachers, but I need to teach her some independence for middle school next year no matter if we’re in virtual, hybrid, or regular school!

When I had a D or F average in Pre Algebra in 7th grade, my Mom arranged with the teacher or I told her that I could stay after school and get help. So I’ve reached out to my daughter’s teachers and we’re getting help. At a Zoom meeting we discussed overarching issues like organization, directions, and extra time. Then we put a tentative plan in place to begin addressing these issues with her.

I am so glad that God nudged me to listen to Harriet’s opinions and feelings about hybrid school and rethink my decision. Her spirit, and my respect of it, placed a fissure smack dab in the middle of what I thought was our solid “no” to hybrid school.

Are we not erring on the side of caution by saying yes to sending her and her brother two days a week? Yes. But like any parent knows, kids need other kids. My kids are fabulous playmates with each other, but enough is enough. I want them to get time around their peers again.

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