My Top 10 Quarantine Gratitude List

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My 2019 self would never have believed some of the items on my 2020 Gratitude List. So much has changed this year. Nothing seems normal anymore. But there’s much to be thankful for in this season.

My Top 10 Quarantine Gratitude List

  1. Extra toilet paper. Need I say more?
  2. A full grocery cart (and the work it took to get there). There were moments in the Spring when I wasn’t sure what I would find when I ventured out to the grocery store. I felt like I had truly accomplished something just by brining home a trunkload full of groceries. And I know that it only happened because of the efforts of so many essential employees who rarely get any gratitude at all. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
  3. Curbside everything. From carry-out pizza to Sam’s Club to pet medicine, great businesses have adapted to meet the needs of their customers. And I hope we never go back!
  4. Sidewalks. Getting outside is a necessity for us, even though me wrangling three kids on bikes, one in a stroller AND the dog is sometimes quite the sight! I’m so thankful for a neighborhood with great sidewalks and gracious neighbors.
  5. The Internet. Screen-time for all of us is up by a gazillion percent. But, man, am I thankful for the opportunity to stay connected and to find new ideas and adventures. We’ve virtually visited museums and National Parks, followed step-by-step drawing lessons, and researched all kinds of randomness. Thank you, Internet.
  6. An hour’s drive to South Padre Island. We’ve escaped to this Island a few times during the last few months, and it has been just the respite that my soul needed. The wind and the waves kind of tune everything out and I can momentarily forget about all of the worries and anxieties that seem ever-present and overwhelming in this season.
  7. Four kids. Having four kiddos during quarantine has certainly meant a LOT of dishes and a LOT of mess. But truly, it has been a blessing. My kids have had others to play with, to imagine with, to interact with, to fight with, to make up with, and to learn with. We’ve barely done anything with anyone else, but I’m so glad that their human interactions haven’t taken more of a hit.
  8. Schools. Who knew that they did so much?! They educate our kids. They provide social interaction. They feed them. They know what to look for when it comes to delays. Schools are awesome! And I’m so thankful for how they’ve adapted to the times that we’re in. My kids are distance learning, and while it’s crazy most days, I’m so thankful for all that schools do for our kids. And, I’m thankful for curbside meal pick-up – can I get an AMEN?!
  9. The medical community. COVID hit the RGV hard. And the nurses, doctors, and medical staff were on the front-lines. I’m immensely grateful for all that they do.
  10. A slower pace of life. I seriously didn’t realize how much time I spent in the car taking people places. Nor did I realize the amount of time I spent getting everyone ready to get in the car to take people to said places. Sippy cups. Snacks. Shoes. Diaper bag. And the list goes on. I know that life will pick back up again (hopefully) soon. But for now, I’m really thankful for the chance to stay home and stay safe.

RGV Moms, what are you thankful for this year? Would it have made your list last year?

Let’s Explore: National Butterfly Center

Hey RGV Moms, quarantine may have us all going a little crazy, but we know that outdoor spaces are good for our kids and good for our souls! We’re adding more and adventures to our “Let’s Explore” series and highlighting some great spots in the RGV to visit with your kiddos. Today’s stop: the National Butterfly Center in Mission.

National Butterfly Center

RGVMB Directory Listing

Location: 3333 Butterfly Park Drive, Mission, TX

Phone: (956) 583-5400

Hours: Open Every Day except Easter Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: $5/adult and $2.50/child ages 5-12; kids 3 and under are free. (These prices are for local residents of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties). Group rates are available for parties with over 10 people.

Time Needed: 1-2 hours

Website: www.nationalbutterflycenter.org

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/natbutterflies

Let’s Explore!

The National Butterfly Center is an ideal place to show your kids something unique about the RGV: we’re on the monarch butterfly migration route!  Monarch butterflies make a two-way migration each year, which means they fly from their summer homes across the U.S. and Canada to their winter homes in Michoacan, Mexico and then back, passing through the RGV twice each year (usually in March and October).

Before you even get into the Visitor’s Center, there’s a beautiful little reflecting pool and butterfly garden. The butterflies are attracted to certain flowering plants, and the National Butterfly Center has them in abundance! It is home to over 200 species of butterflies.

The Visitor’s Center has a small gift shop and an area with display cases and information about wildlife that is native to South Texas. Exit out the back door of the Visitor’s Center and you can explore the gardens. It’s amazing to see the butterflies en masse when you visit during the migration season.

There are two ways to get to the Pavilion area. You can take the Hackberry trail, which is a straight shot, or there is a side trail that meanders a little more and has a few fun little stops along the way. My kids love the caterpillar made out of tires!

butterfly center 5
butterfly center 2
butterfly center 6

You should also be on the lookout for wildlife. The last time we went, we saw a marine toad, chachalacas, green jays, and butterflies in every stage from caterpillar to cocoon!

Once you make it to the Pavilion, you can take a break or explore the trails a little more. The Texas Butterfly Festival is a great time to visit, as there are lots of fun activities for the kids! Hopefully, the festival will return in 2021!

For more information about the National Butterfly Center, make sure to check out their website.

Insider Tips:

  • Make sure to wear good tennis shoes!
  • Bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray (bug spray is a MUST!)
  • The paths are friendly for a sturdy stroller.
  • There’s plenty of shade, so plan your visit around your schedule!

RGV Moms, get out there and explore all that the Valley has to offer! Check out the “Outdoor Play” section of our Directory for more information and ideas!

Stories from a Homeschooling Newbie

It’s October now, and, like many others, I’ve been homeschooling my 6- and 8-year-olds for over six weeks. My partner and I made the decision to homeschool when it became clear that the public schools would be all online for at least a few weeks. Although we love the elementary school teachers, we did not feel that a remote learning setup would be the best for our children — or us. We’re a low-tech household and wanted to keep it that way. Our current plan is to send the kids back to school as soon as they physically reopen, but I am dreading that day. I’ve fallen in love with Charlotte Mason.

I Never Thought I Would be a Homeschooling Mom

Given that I have a full-time job, I never thought I would be a homeschooling mom, but I was always intrigued by it. Contrary to the stereotype, I always found homeschool kids to be really normal — serious, hardworking, and seemingly interested in learning. Since COVID-19 asked us to do more than we ever thought we could, and since I have the privilege of working from home, off I went into a summer of planning and prepping.

My partner and I came to an agreement: I would homeschool the kids every weekday from 9 am to 1 pm, then give them quiet time (together or alone, their choice) from 1-3 pm, and then my partner would take them for some outdoor PE/nature adventure from 3-5 pm. I am still able to work full time, which currently takes the form of writing a book.

For a curriculum, I chose the Charlotte Mason philosophy, which is less of a full curriculum and more of a style of teaching and learning. Mason believed that children are whole human beings, worthy of respect — and good literature. To this end, most of our school day revolves around reading.

I also bought them a math curriculum for the year (Math Mammoth, although next time I would make sure I not to order the International edition, whose last chapter’s focus is New Zealand currency). We also read the Hebrew Bible, do art, copy work, typing, and practice listening, comprehending, and speaking. We are a dual-language household, so on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays the lessons are in Spanish, and on Wednesdays and Thursdays, in English.

A Look at Our Schedule

Our schedule looks like this, and in future blog posts, I can elaborate on each piece. The times are approximate (aside from the 9 am starting time).

8:30-9 am: Baseball outside

9 am: Deal with whatever scuffle baseball has produced 🙂

9:05 am: Biblia/Bible (15 min)

9:15 Math (15-30 min)

Mondays: Art appreciation (5 min)

9:45 am: History Reading and Narration (15 min)

10 am: Avena y Cuadernos / Oats and Notes

11 am: Literature Reading and Narration

11:30 am: Kindle (M/T/F Spanish; W/Th English)

12:00 pm: Eat

12:30: Read more (Aesop/Esopo, Cuentos en Español, baseball books, Artist biographies, etc.)

1 pm: Siesta

3-5 pm: Outdoor play/nature study

Homeschooling is challenging and sometimes frustrating, but when else will I get to watch my kids fall in love with learning? Until next time-

Mariana

 

2020 RGV Pumpkin Patch Guide

Even though everything looks different this year, pumpkin patches all over the RGV are ready to safely offer some fall fun for your kiddos! Check out our 2020 RGV Pumpkin Patch Guide to get all of the info so that you can plan a great family fun adventure!

*Please check the Facebook page or website listed below for each patch to get site-specific ticketing and safety precaution information.

First United Methodist Church, Harlingen

Address: 321 E Harrison Ave, Harlingen, TX 78550
Phone:
(956) 423-0540

Dates of Operation: October 10 – 31
Monday-Friday: 8:30 AM  – 12:30 PM and 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Ticket Information
No entrance fee.

Hacienda San Miguel Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch

Address: 6917 North Bentsen Palm Drive, Mission, TX
Phone:
(956) 639-3370

Dates of Operation: October 6 – November 2
Monday-Friday: 5:00 PM  – 10:00 PM 
Saturday-Sunday: 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Ticket Information
No entrance fee.

Maddie’s Pumpkin Patch (McAllen)

Address: 6712 N. Bentsen Rd., McAllen, TX
Phone:
(956) 207-5797 or (956) 457-3035

Dates of Operation: September 12 – December 1
Monday-Friday: 10:00 AM  – 8:00 PM 
Saturday-Sunday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Ticket Information
Tickets are $10/person ages 3 and up.
Advance tickets are not required.

Maddie’s Pumpkin Patch (Mission)

Address: 10310 N. Conway Ave., Mission, TX
Phone:
(956) 207-5797 or (956) 457-3035

Dates of Operation: September 12 – December 1
Monday-Friday: 3:00 PM  – 8:00 PM 
Saturday-Sunday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Ticket Information
Tickets are $10/person ages 3 and up.
Advance tickets are not required.

Maddie’s Pumpkin Patch (Weslaco)

Address: 1107 E. 12 1/2 Mile, Weslaco, TX
Phone:
(956) 207-5797 or (956) 457-3035

Dates of Operation: September 12 – December 1
Monday-Friday: 3:00 PM  – 8:00 PM 
Saturday-Sunday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Ticket Information
Tickets are $10/person ages 3 and up.
Advance tickets are not required.

Monopoly Fam

Address: 7852 E. US Highway 83 Rio Grande City, TX (Between La Grulla and Sullivan City on the south side of Highway 83)

Dates of Operation: October 4 – 31
Monday-Friday: 5:00 PM – sunset
Saturday-Sunday: 10:00 AM – sunset

Ticket Information:
$10/adults, $5/child 12 and under

Rancho los Cantú

Address: 9717 N. Seminary Rd., Edinburg, TX
Phone:
(956) 638-1854

Dates of Operation: October 16 – November 22
Monday-Sunday:
1:00  – 8:00 PM

Ticket Information
Tickets are $7/person. Free for children under 2.

Rocky Dee’s Pumpkin Patch

Address: 4708 E. Richardson Rd., Edinburg, TX
Phone:
(956) 638-1854

Dates of Operation: September 25 – November 25
Monday-Friday: 1:00 PM  – Sundown
Saturday-Sunday: 10:00 AM – Sundown
Closed on Thanksgiving Day

Ticket Information
Monday-Thursday ticket prices are $6/person. Friday-Sunday ticket prices are $8/person. Cash only.

St. Mark’s Pumpkin Patch

Address: 301 Pecan Blvd., McAllen, TX
Phone: (956) 686-2650

Dates of Operation: October 8 – October 30
Monday-Friday: 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday-Sunday: 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Ticket Information
Advance purchase tickets ($3/person ages 3 and up) required via this link.

The Pond at T-Ranch

Address: 25492 N FM 2556, La Feria, TX
Phone: (956) 454-2505

Dates of Operation: October 1- November 15
Thursday: 4:00 – 9:00 PM
Friday-Sunday: 1:00-9:00 PM

Ticket Information
Tickets are $8/person for ages 3 and up. Advance Purchase available at this link.

Let’s Explore: Quinta Mazatlan

Hey RGV Moms, we’re adding more adventures to our “Let’s Explore” series and highlighting some great spots in the RGV to visit with your kiddos. Today’s stop: Quinta Mazatlan.

Quinta Mazatlan

RGVMB Directory Listing

Location: 600 Sunset Drive, McAllen

Phone: (956) 681-3370

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Open Thursday Nights until Dark

Cost: $3/adult and $2/child ages 3-12; kids 2 and under are free

Time Needed: 1-2 hours

Website: www.quintamazatlan.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/McAllenNatureCenter

Let’s Explore!

Quinta Mazatlan is a hidden gem in McAllen that’s a great spot to get your kids out and into nature. It’s one of the nine World Birding Centers in the RGV.

After parking, you’ll need to check-in and pay at the mansion, so follow the red brick trail up the hill. Admission is $3/adult and $2/child ages 3-12.

Quinta Mazatlan has some great nature trails with informational signage that tells you about native plants and wildlife in the Rio Grande Valley. There are also lots of areas for the kids to play and get some energy out. Many of the paths have benches and seating areas, as well, in case your little ones get tuckered out.

Pre-pandemic, they offered some great programming for kids, including programs like Nature Tots, Buckets of Fun, and Summer Nights at the Mansion. We hope those fun activities start up again soon!

Quinta Mazatlan has a lot going on, from volunteer opportunities to scout workshops to school field trip programming. You can check out their website for more info.

Insider Tips:

  • Bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray
  • There’s plenty of shade, so plan your visit around your schedule!

RGV Moms, get out there and explore all that the Valley has to offer! Check out the “Outdoor Play” section of our Directory for more information and ideas!

We quit virtual learning on the second day of school, and I have zero regrets.

On the second day of mommy and me tears, we quit virtual learning — and I have zero regrets.

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.

How to Comply with Texas’s Homeschool Law | HSLDA

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.

How has virtual learning worked for you and your family? Are you also considering homeschooling instead?

From one Teacher to Another: You are the Phoenix

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Exhaustive. Unsustainable. Often defeating. We smile on camera as the Google Classroom we carefully constructed seems to burn all around us, our bitmoji mocks us with its posed perfection that resists execution of commands at the most crucial of times (just keep clicking…please let the link work…).

Stop. Look up. This is temporary.

From one teacher to another I want to tell you: Despite feeling the flames licking at the edge of your online classroom, you will not be defeated. You have nothing to fear because you are fire. You are the burning beauty of passion and pride and drive, and despite being exhausted, you persist.

Distance Learning is exhausting. But you keep smiling, you keep adjusting — the smiling/terrified/bored/confused faces in boxes in front of you are counting on you. For every missing or difficult child, there are those that are staring at you and excited to see your face.

They, like you, are showing up. They, like you, are fighting their fight.

This is not meant to be sustained, but to be a holding place until the return of the ideal, the normal, the sustainable. To hold teachers to the same standards that were set before the world was taken hostage by the insidious, invisible tyrant of disease is not maintaining normalcy. Rather, it is taking a marathon runner and forcibly removing a leg while handing them a pirate’s peg and saying, “run again now, but faster.”

We are posed with two choices: impossible #1 and incomprehensible #2 — as if these are the only ways of continuing our craft.

As teachers, we are told to make the best of things and innovate, while the decision-makers sit with their blades at ready to cut down our burgeoning excitement with another demand, directive or decision that requires that we innovate within parameters abjectly opposed to change, insistent that online learning should reflect “business as usual”.

There are better ways. There are sustainable ways. Unfortunately the channel that flows from national to state to local burns the paths on all sides, resulting in teachers running on our wooden pegs, crying for respite while those who gave us the wooden leg are forced to type with wooden fingers, their hands of help being severed by those that have zero concept of what it is to be in a classroom.

So we smile. We meet, we zoom, we canva, because that is what teachers do. We adapt. We pivot. We burn. We burn with passion for our craft, dedication to our students, and frustration at the impossible standards that have been set. This fire within us shall never be quenched.

But, dear teachers, we will remember these times. We will remember our difficult days devoid of validation of our struggles, and insistence that the status quo remains maintained. We will remember the demands that sapped us of our strength and cried for innovation without the willingness to accept change.

I urge you, you, who are clicking away furtively on your screen, look up.

Focus on this: You are the phoenix.

You will rise from the ashes of these days stronger, more beautiful, and more fierce than ever.

Always remember.

You are the phoenix. You will rise.

A super different, socially-distanced family outing

This weekend, for the first time in forever, we attempted a super different, socially-distanced family outing.

For the better part of the year, just like everyone else, we’ve been stuck at home. Pre-pandemic, the occasional, non-socially-distanced, family outing was something we prioritized. We regularly utilized our memberships to the Children’s Museum, Gladys Porter Zoo,  Sea Turtle Inc., and more. Nowadays, because of the Coronavirus, I can’t even remember the last time we left the house to explore as an entire family unit.

A trip to Gladys Porter Zoo

Gladys Porter Zoo called us recently to let us know about their COVID-19 safety changes and to inform us that they were actually open again (yay!), AND that our membership had been extended a few months past the expiration.

I’d been pretty hesitant to go anywhere, to be honest. We haven’t had much contact with anyone who doesn’t live in our house, nor have we really gone out much past doctor appointments and grocery store runs.

For safety reasons, two of our family vacations were canceled this year — one to California, and one to Florida. My kids, and my husband and I had been feeling pretty bummed about that, so we finally decided it was time to try SOME bit of normalcy with a family outing. When my husband and I surprised the kids the morning of they were SO so excited.

Masked kids, zoo family outing

We started the car and I had the biggest brain fart ever — what was I even supposed to pack?! I barely remembered diapers and wipes, and my husband suggested water. My son reminded me to take his fruit snacks. Then, of course, we had to pack masks, and back-up masks for those masks. Who knew it’d be so easy to forget how to pack a diaper bag!? Thanks, 2020!

Our socially-distanced experience at the zoo was really atypical.

The zoo had lots of tape and arrows to guide traffic. Masks kept slipping off the kids, and snacks were hard to do without finding designated snack areas, and oh my — am I out of shape! Halfway through the zoo, my pregnant self was ready to call it quits. My body hadn’t had this level of physical activity in MONTHS.

Masked adults, zoo family outing

There was one non-socially-distanced moment when I felt incredibly uncomfortable.

We’d tried hard to stay away from people the whole loop around the zoo — but an old granny found us unmasked, and vulnerable, eating our mid-day snacks at the Lion’s Den — she touched two of my three kids to not give them “ojo.”

Because it’s the culture I’ve grown up with it was hard to say anything to this sweet old lady, but inside, my heart was silently screaming, “We’re in a PANDEMIC, keep your hands off my kids!” Instead, I smiled nervously and whispered “gracias” when she told me how adorable my kids were.

Overall, despite a random grandma not maintaining her 6-ft, I think it was a good outing for our family. I don’t see this type of family outing becoming a regular part of our routine, but it was nice to have one day of semi-normalcy even if it meant wearing masks in the 103-degree heat, and social distancing.

For up-to-date information about the Gladys Porter Zoo and what they’re doing to maintain the safety of their guests, staff, and animals, please see their website and Facebook page. At the time this article is written, advanced reservations are required in addition to your membership. Reservations for your family outing can be made on their website.

What kind of socially distant family outings, if any, has your family had this summer?

Where have you gone? What was your experience like? Was it socially distanced? Did everyone around you follow the protocols and guidelines set in place?

Dear Teachers, Right Now, I See You

Dear Teachers,

Normally, I send my kids off to you in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. I entrust my children to you and I trust that you’re doing your best.  I hear bits and pieces from my kiddos, but I don’t truly know what happens in your classroom.

But now, I see you.

I see your face on the other side of the screen — you’re literally in my kitchen and my living room and my office space all day long — but I see so much more than that.

I see all of the extras that you incorporate as you make a classroom (or a computer platform) into an environment of learning.

I see your smiling face and your polished Meet the Teacher slides. You don’t let on one bit that you’re facing a crazy, difficult, nearly impossible start to school.

I see you as you patiently answer the same question for the fifth time in a row.

I see you answer that same question, yet again.

I see you gladly filling every role that comes up, whether it is last minute DJ or nurse or IT support.

I see your bitmoji in so many forms, and I know the time and effort it took to get it looking so great.

I see you as you interact with other teachers with respect and an attitude of grace.

I see you prepping for the year through loss of power and water. Hurricane? Not when school starts in a week.

I see you worried about the health of your students, of yourself, of your city. You’re worried about their physical health, but also their mental and emotional and academic health. And I see it.

I see you as you make changes to make the class better.

I see you as you try something new, whether or not it works.

I see you as you respond to parent questions during what’s supposed to be your “lunch hour.”

I see you as you cheer on my children and as you push them to think on a deeper level.

I see you as you dance along and do silly motions and encourage my shy or scared or grumpy little one to join in the fun and the learning.

I see you as you struggle against technology and the clock and kids who are tired and antsy. I see you do it all with grace in your voice and a smile on your exhausted face.

I see you re-post all of the most important information from the day so that the parents who don’t get a chance to see you still know what’s happening in class.

I see you at home every night, just like my own teacher husband, exhausted and questioning the day and mustering up just a little more energy for the sweet ones living under your own roof.

Your efforts and your dedication do not go unseen. I promise.

 

Unprecedented: Weighing Options for School in the Fall

The beginning of the school year is quickly approaching, and it seems to be anything other than normal. Unprecedented is what I would call it.

There are so many questions on all of our minds.

How can we make sure that our children get a great education? How can we make sure that our children stay safe if and when we need to return to work?

An Unprecedented Time

Earlier this month, the Texas Education Agency issued guidelines that detail ways in which the state will be supporting families and schools when it comes to education during the pandemic. These guidelines were based on recommendations by both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In short, parents will have more of a say than ever when it comes to the school setting that is best for their children. Attendance (a mandatory of 90% of time that the class is offered, as usual) may be earned through in-person or virtual participation.

Wow. Just wow. If you have school-aged children, you’ve probably already received communication from your school district in the form of a survey or a draft of their plan. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a directory of school websites throughout the RGV.

An Unprecedented Amount of Choice

On-Campus Learning 

  • According to the TEA, “Daily on-campus learning will be available to all parents who would like their students to learn in school each day.”
  • Health and safety procedures will be in place to support student and teacher safety.

Distance Learning

  • If a system is offering distance learning, parents can choose that option. They may be asked to commit for a certain period of time, such as a grading period.
  • Attendance can be earned through the delivery of virtual instruction, and as always, students must attend 90% of the days a course is offered to be awarded credit for the course and/or to be promoted to the next grade.
  • Any parent may request that their student be offered virtual instruction from any school system that offers such instruction.

Homeschooling

This is yet another option that many families are considering. Homeschooling isn’t the same as distance learning, but it is an option that many RGV families already choose. A few online resources are below.

So, RGV Moms, what are you planning to do when it comes to school in the fall? Comment below with resources and we will update this post in the coming weeks.

The beginning of the school year is quickly approaching, and it seems to be anything other than normal. Unprecedented is what I would call it.

There are so many questions on all of our minds. How can we make sure that our children get a great education? How can we make sure that our children stay safe if and when we need to return to work?

An Unprecedented Time

Earlier this month, the Texas Education Agency issued guidelines that detail ways in which the state will be supporting families and schools when it comes to education during the pandemic. These guidelines were based on recommendations by both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In short, parents will have more of a say than ever when it comes to the school setting that is best for their children. Attendance (a mandatory of 90% of time that the class is offered, as usual) may be earned through in-person or virtual participation.

Wow. Just wow. If you have school-aged children, you’ve probably already received communication from your school district in the form of a survey or a draft of their plan. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a directory of school websites throughout the RGV.

An Unprecedented Amount of Choice

On-Campus Learning 

  • According to the TEA, “Daily on-campus learning will be available to all parents who would like their students to learn in school each day.”
  • Health and safety procedures will be in place to support student and teacher safety.

Distance Learning

  • If a system is offering distance learning, parents can choose that option. They may be asked to commit for a certain period of time, such as a grading period.
  • Attendance can be earned through the delivery of virtual instruction, and as always, students must attend 90% of the days a course is offered to be awarded credit for the course and/or to be promoted to the next grade.
  • Any parent may request that their student be offered virtual instruction from any school system that offers such instruction.

Homeschooling

This is yet another option that many families are considering. Homeschooling isn’t the same as distance learning, but it is an option that many RGV families already choose. A few online resources are below.

So, RGV Moms, what are you planning to do when it comes to school in the fall? Comment below with resources and we will update this post in the coming weeks.

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