The Exceptionally Ordinary Life

Should I send my kids back to school?

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I’m going to venture out and say that I am 100% sure that few of us have found ourselves in this position: Do we or do we not send our kids back to traditional, institutional school?

That is, unfortunately, a serious, and difficult question to answer. After all, everyone’s life situation is different. Maybe your state is forcing schools to open. And you have to go to work, which means that you might not have a choice but to send them out there, and hope for the best.

Or maybe you have other options but have no clue where to start, or even if any decision is the right decision.

If that’s the case, then you want to read on for some tips on how to decide if you should send your kids to school or not.

Should I send my kids back to school?

Before we dive in, let’s just be clear on something: I am not a medical professional, or an authority. I am a Mom, who, just like you, is faced with a dilemma.

And while my state is keeping school buildings closed (for now, at least), there is still much to consider. And so, what you will read next is just a list of recommendations of how to deal with the new normal in the best way possible.

Educate yourself

Before you can even begin to make any decisions, you need to know exactly where things are, what the real experts are saying, and what the recommendations are. No one can decide what’s best for your kid but you, and for this you need to have as much information as possible.

Educate yourself as much as you can. In this day and age, information is at (most) people’s fingertips. Use all the resources you can find. For this, Google could be your best friend. But, make sure you always check the source of the information, and that the source is valid.

For example, if you want to read from the real health experts, I recommend you read this article by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC for short. In it, you will find information about the COVID-19 spread, how it affects children and even a decision-making tool or questionnaire.

Educate your children

This part is crucial. Kids tend to be a lot more aware than we give them credit for, which could be a good or a bad thing, depending on the situation.

Here is an example: In my home we are very open when we talk about different topics, and do not taboo anything, although we try to be careful and keep it as age-appropriate as possible.

However, we under-estimated how much about the pandemic our youngest was actually paying attention to. Her siblings are older (20 & 21) and so she is normally a very smart and chill 10 yr old. She has to be 😉

Which made her late night breakdowns all the more baffling. And heartbreaking.

In several occasions now, she has come downstairs late at night looking for me. Sometimes it’s nightmares, sometimes is just her conscious mind getting stuck in little things. Like when she sort of panicked because her teacher at dance camp asked her several questions before letting her into the building (this is part of their new protocol every morning before they allow the kids inside, to keep them safe).

She is usually so chill and laid back, that I had completely missed the signs. I didn’t see how all the family conversations and even the small snippets of news reports were affecting her.

Take your time to research the best ways and the best tools and resources to help your kids understand what’s going on, and how it could affect them and their loved ones. As they say, education is key.

Consider your options

This is, without a doubt the starting point on any decisions you make. Do you send your kids to school? Could you homeschool? Do you other options? To give you a general idea, here are some of the options that are available to you:

  • Regular (institutional) school
  • Online school
  • Homeschool (with online component and support from the state/district, or other source)
  • Homeschool (curriculum based, or other independent options

All the above options (and probably more/different angles I didn’t even think about) are available for all thru out the U.S., even if your state has ordered schools to open back up. However, your personal, and unique life situation will weigh in heavily on your decision.

Review local laws & regulations

For a country that has “united” in the name, this is a seldom-united country. And that’s the case for laws, policies, and a whole lot of other areas.

That means that you not only have to know, follow, and abide by the country’s guidelines. But you also need to know, follow and abide by state, county, district, and yes, even your neighborhood school.

To help you narrow it down, check what your county’s education policies, laws and regulations are, and work your way up to the federal sector.

To research about homeschooling specifically, go to this site. I believe this is the best, biggest, and more encompassing place to check. Once on the website, let your cursor hover over the ‘Legal’ tab to find out what your state’s homeschooling laws are.

List pros and cons of every option

As someone who has extensively researched schooling in the past (completely unrelated to Covid-19, but triggered by school shootings), I can confidently tell you that every option has good and bad. And so, listing the pros & cons of each option for you and your family situation is a step you don’t want to skip.

See, this is not a decision to take lightly. Education is extremely important, and you shouldn’t just wing it. So take the time, study your personal situation (finances, work, health, etc.) and list all the factors in the column where they belong.

Open up the discussion/conversation

Once you have all the information you need, and a clearer idea of what each option might look like, it is time to start the conversations.

If you have a partner in crime, a.k.a. a spouse, then bring up the subject with them now, if you haven’t already. Note that you could and should talk about what sending your kids back to school means from the get-go. It’s better that way, since it will give your family a window into your thoughts, instead of catching them blind-sided.

However, if you prefer to weigh in your thoughts, ideas, and options, now is the time to let it all out. Whether you choose to talk it out with your partner first, and then add the kids to the convo (if old enough), it’s entirely up to you. You know your situation, and how your family functions better than anyone.

Keep in mind that I specifically said open up the conversation. The use of words is important here. You are likely to see better results, and communicate better if you not only explain your views, but are also open to listen to others. If it helps, ask them to contribute to your pros/cons list. You might find that they may have points that did not even occur to you!

Keep tabs on recent developments

Now, I don’t want you to obsess with the news reports at all. In fact, I recommend you limit the time you spend watching the news. And even more so, limit the time you spend getting your ‘news’ from ANY social media outlet.

HOWEVER, I want you to stay informed, especially of any current or recent changes in your area. You can (and should) do this by watching ONE newscast per day, or two at the most, one in the morning, and one at night. But make sure to limit it as much as possible. No need to drown in sorrow or worry more than necessary.

The reason I want you to stay up to date is simple: this is the best way to make the best choices for YOU and YOUR family. And unfortunately, in the current situation you might find yourself having to adjust and readjust more than once.

Consult/ask for opinions

Although the final decision will be all yours (your family’s), consulting with someone your trust, or even asking other parents might not be a bad idea.

Keep in mind though, that if you reach out on social media (and even in-person settings), you might find some people to be rude, dismissive, and even downright mean. Don’t let this discourage you though. Ignore the a$$wipes, and focus on those who truly mean to help, even if their views are very different from yours. Because the point here is not to have others (strangers or not) validate our decisions. The point is to explore options, and ultimately, make the best choice for your needs.

Make a decision

Now that you have all the information you can possibly find, and have weighed all your options, it’s time to make a decision.

If this gives you anxiety, know that you’re not alone. And that, fortunately, in most (or all) places this decision is not set in stone. Do what works for YOU and YOUR family right now, and revisit later. The state of emergency is every-changing, and so will be the position you find yourself in. Don’t sweat it too much. Just focus on doing what’s best for you and re-evaluate when needed.

Should I send my kids back to school?

Just to recap:

In order to decide whether or not you should send your kids back to school there’s a simple process you can follow. That way you can organize your thoughts, asses your needs, and make the best decision for you and your family. If you scrolled all the way down, here are the important points or steps you should take:

  • Educate yourself
  • Educate your children
  • Consider your options
  • Review local laws & regulations
  • List pros & cons of every option
  • Open up the discussion/conversation
  • Keep tabs on recent developments
  • Consult/ask for opinions
  • Make a decision

You may prefer to alter the order in which you do this to serve your needs better, and that’s OK! No family is exactly the same as another, so some tweaking might be in order. However, I am hoping this post can help you feel less overwhelmed and less stressed.

As always, let’s help one another, shall we? Please leave any comments or questions in the comment section below. And if you found this helpful, share with others too!

Should I send my kids back to school?

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Should I send my kids back to school during the pandemic?

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