At this time of year everyone is trying to make plans for the return to school.
Items on the annual list usually include doctor and dentist check-ups, haircuts,
buying school supplies and finishing those summer reading assignments. It is
important that these activities still take place and are consistent. However, the
return to school in the fall this year is filled with questions, anxiety, fear, and
uncertainty. It is very important for parents not to influence their children with
negative, fearful, frustrated, or angry feelings about home schooling versus brick
and mortar school.
Miami Dade County Public School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Broward
County Public School Superintendent Robert Runcie have worked tirelessly for
months to ensure the health and well-being of all students and staff to return to
school. Parents have a choice to continue on-line learning, hybrid models of 2 or
3 days of in school with eLearning, or full-time in-person classes. The goal is to
reduce class size, temperature checks, one-way hallways, continual sanitation
procedures, face coverings, and much more. It will be challenging, but it all can be
Families have adjusted to home schooling via the computer (some better than
others), requiring learning new and special skills by both students and parents. I
asked several students how they dealt with home learning and most said it was
easy and days are shorter. The younger ones said they passed just because they
showed up. The older ones said that they feel they are falling behind their grade
level. They missed their friends and have missed out on other celebrations such as
graduations from kindergarten, elementary school and high School. As much as
the “drive by” celebrations attempted to acknowledge these important
milestones, it certainly wasn’t the same.
Regardless of what a family decides to do with their child’s schooling this year, a
designated “learning space” must be set up. Have all books, learning materials
and supplies in one location. If a desk or shelf isn’t possible, keep a plastic bin
with everything. Set up a realistic schedule with short breaks, a healthy lunch and
some exercise for both parent and child.
The lessons we can teach our children are to learn resilience, stay positive, being
flexible, and supporting one another. If we do these things, we will not only
survive, we will thrive!