I’m 22 weeks pregnant, with a toddler, a preschooler, a first-grader, and I also work a full forty hours a week from home. I love my job, I love my kids, and I love the opportunities we have when I’m able to stay home with them, yet still provide income for our family.
Unfortunately, adding virtual school to my list of already full tasks just wasn’t feasible.
My daughter’s first day of first grade was pretty much a disaster. There were internet issues, streaming issues, reluctance, and frustration from my daughter about not being allowed to turn off her camera, and all kinds of chaos. She hated it, and I hated it. So, by the second day, we quit.
From Virtual Learning to Homeschooling
I called the school to attempt to unenroll my daughter and was told that it was just not an option — they told me she’d simply be marked absent for four weeks and then they’d contact us. I was upset and frustrated with the response because the last thing we need in 2020 is school attendance issues. I ended up joining and seeking counsel from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), an organization that assists parents who desire to homeschool.
Choosing to homeschool over virtual was absolutely the right choice for my family.
This spring, when we were all tossed into the world of virtual learning, it nearly broke me. I didn’t know how to add that extra role to the roles that I was already performing while simultaneously coping with a fresh pregnancy loss. I had prayed hard about this upcoming school year, and weighed all the school options over the summer.
My husband and I decided that we’d try virtual again this fall — surely it couldn’t be any worse than it was in the spring, only it was. I simply couldn’t be my 6-year-old’s IT person and administrative assistant, while also working full-time and still being a sane mom to the little ones.
Doing actual schoolwork with my daughter off-camera was the easy part — it wasn’t any different than helping her with her homework. Unfortunately, with the technical aspects, and keeping up with hours of non-stop streaming, while still
maintaining attempting somewhat of an 8-5 work schedule, virtual learning was impossible.
Do I Look Like an Octopus?
There is no more perfect way to describe how I felt that first week of school other than shouting at the universe, “DO I LOOK LIKE AN OCTOPUS?!”
One of my most-used mom phrases when my kids are all asking for something at the same time is, “Do I look like an octopus?” Of course, they giggle, and laugh and say, “No, you’re a human!” To which I reply, “Exactly! I only have two arms, not eight, so you’ll have to wait your turn.” The demands of non-flexible virtual schooling were just too much — another impossible task for my invisible octo-arms.
Ultimately, I felt like I had two options: a) quit my job or b) quit virtual school. SOMETHING had to give. It was the exact same dilemma we had this spring.
We don’t know what homeschooling will be like, but we’ve chosen our curriculum and a flexible school schedule that works with my work schedule.
Both my preschooler and first-grader were eager and ecstatic with our first few lessons (the exact opposite vibe we had with virtual school). My preschooler was also supposed to start school this fall, but because of the pandemic, he had to stay home too. So, he’s really loved feeling like a “big boy” doing his schoolwork. My toddler even gets a little school book to color to feel like she is part of the lessons.
I know that virtual learning may work for some families. If it does, that’s wonderful, but it isn’t a model that suits our family. I don’t expect homeschooling to be the easiest thing in the world, nor do I expect to be a perfect homeschooling mom, but I already know 100% that homeschool is the right choice for my children, and for me, right now.