At the start of this school year, we kept all three of our children home and did virtual. It was based on my husband’s and my apprehensiveness about COVID risks in schools.
Our kids are all at different levels of school. We have a child in high school, one in middle school, and our youngest in elementary. The school system didn’t seem to have it worked out for any of them or exactly what the protocols would be, so we just felt safer home. We soon realized that our babies just weren’t thriving at home, and each of them for a different reason.
Our oldest began to show signs of depression from the isolation. He wouldn’t come out of his room much or groom like normal. He had no contact with his friends or desire for it. Our daughter and middle child became more clingy to me than normal. Her anxieties about everything also became elevated. She seemed to need constant reassurance with her school work. She was losing confidence in her academic abilities. Finally, the youngest began to gain weight rapidly and depend on his electronics to cope.
Eventually, we decided to send them back. It wasn’t an easy choice, but we knew it was best at the time. We had scares and received those dreaded but appreciated emails regarding possible Covid contact. The kids began to thrive, and then we noticed a decline in our daughter. It was slow at first then rapid. She began to show signs of distress daily, through tears and voiced insecurities. We found out she was being the victim of some pretty intense bullying. Being an educator myself, I knew that this form of bullying would be hard to address, so we returned her to virtual learning. This left us with two kids in school and one at home.
It’s a unique situation, but it’s working for us and our children. The goal of every parent is to have happy productive children. Sometimes this comes with great sacrifice and creativity. Our situation may look totally different from other families. It may even buck the norms of the system, but our concern is doing what’s right for each kid. Children aren’t one size fits all even within one family, and we’re ok with that.