So it’s the second year of online distance learning. My kids miss their face to face classes, but I still think ODL is the best set up. And I don’t mean just for this season.
Last year taught us a bunch of things. I heard my older daughters complain about school being different. About the work they needed to do and schedule they needed to keep. But I also saw them take responsibility for their classes. They woke up on time. They got themselves ready to go onscreen. They actually stayed in their classes — trust me, this is a big deal. They checked their classwork and made sure, as much as possible, they had no missing work. They communicated with their teachers as needed. I did not have to nag them or even check on their work.
After the first few weeks, my eldest surprised me by her saying she liked ODL. She said she could focus and therefore learn more. She’s the type who gets so easily distracted, even by her own daydreaming 😂. I was also pleasantly surprised by how her teachers tapped her and entrusted her with certain tasks. And through practice, her drawing, painting, and crocheting skills developed greatly.
My second surprised me with the friends she gained outside of school, and all the techie knowledge she gained from watching gamers and gaming herself. The stuff she tells me goes over my head 😂. She kept up her school work and her social, albeit online, life. And it wasn’t all gaming too. She reached out to a couple of girls, built friendships, and shared the Gospel to them.
It was my youngest that I was a little bit concerned about. She started school early the year before, so she started first grade at age 5. She was the youngest among her classmates and knowing that all her classmates were either almost 7 or already 7 weighed on me. But she also surprised me with the way she coped. I mean it wasn’t a surprise that she would get bored and would rather play, but she understood her lessons (with some help of course), did the work, participated in class, and even gained gold achiever status. In fact, all of them did by the end of the school year!
I am a frustrated homeschooler. I love homeschooling. I envy my homeschooling mom friends who are doing really well and whose kids are thriving. We tried a number of years with our older girls, but with all the factors in play, it just did not work for us. I always have to remind myself why it is best that the kids are in regular school haha, but I do agree that it is for the best. Our loving relationships remain intact. My sanity and health remain stable 😂. They learn to have their own standards, not to please us or meet our standards, but to be motivated to do their work excellently for their own satisfaction. They learn to do school as their worship to the Lord. They learn independence and responsibility. They develop good study habits. All the reasons for wanting to homeschool them actually.
But while homeschooling, the opposite always happened. We were many times at each other’s throats, mainly because I was impatient and they would get impatient with me too. They took teacher for granted because teacher was mommy. Standards, habits, responsibility, independence, motivation — all out the window. Because of the pressure to do academics, the fun I wanted to have with them and the faith I wanted to teach and impart also kind of went out the window. Plus, the fact that my kids wanted to go to regular school already, was undeniable. I didn’t even try homeschooling the youngest anymore. Hubby also wanted stability for them, so we finally decided to put them in regular school.
When ODL happened, I realized that it was the set up I actually wanted! Somebody else in charge of their acads, not to mention a Christian school (GCFSMCS) that upholds the Word of God in their teaching, (shoutout to the girls’ awesome, hardworking, loving teachers!), while I get to be joyful, loving, present, inspired and hopefully inspiring mom to them! I get to teach them without the pressure. They get to learn from me without the pressure as well. And they are home! Not out for 4-8 hours everyday, and then busy with school work when they get home. I get multiple hugs and multiple visits to my room each day. We have more time to talk about anything and everything. ❤️
This year, with their experience and a better organized schedule implemented by the school, they are coping well. They are the same responsible children, the same reliable students.
ODL is a gift! It comes with its challenges, but this mom considers it a blessing. And while I know that some time soon I will have to let the girls go enjoy being in school again, I choose to cherish the here and now. ❤️