It's time to start preparing for kids to get back to school, but this year is radically different, yet again.
Although the states are being encouraged to allow students to return to school full-time at the beginning of September, concerns abound.
Is it safe? Will the teachers be back? How will the kids do after a year and a half away?
Unfortunately, things are really up in the air. What do you do?
Let's take a look at getting your kids in the right mindset to go back to school.
A Whole New Meaning To Back To School
For most children, going back to school means returning to someplace they have not been in well over a year. Online learning dominated and so many things shut down.
For five and six-year-olds, this is something they've never done before. Twice as many students will be attending school for the first time ever.
Many teachers retired and many more refused to return to work. As a result, classes will be different as more students will need to be in the classroom, but they're forced to be farther apart.
Most students will need to relearn how to learn.
The statistics for online learning are dismal. Less than half of all students attended their classes as they should. As many as 90% of students did not put in a full school day during the entire pandemic.
Students barely got dressed for class and learned how to manipulate the technology to fake their attendance.
Now, they have to go back to school, sit in classes under the supervision of a teacher. There's no faking it this time, they're either going to be attentive or not.
Many will have to readjust their sleeping schedule, haven't gotten used to sleeping in later.
Some students thrived, however. For them, going back to school means putting up with bullies, oppressive social standards, and ridicule. Online schooling meant they avoided the hardships. Some students with ADHD thrived, as well. They were able to take breaks if they needed, concentrate on their schedule. Online learning but the focus in ways they have never been able to.
Now everything kids have gotten used to over the past year-and-a-half is being ripped away, yet again.
Yet polls indicate kids are ready to go back.
Is Back To School Really Back To School?
The first thing you have to pay attention to is whether your child is going back to school full-time, part-time, or not at all. Many schools have not yet decided how they're going to run their classes.
Once you figure out how the classes will run, you have to work with your child to match it. Time will have to be set aside to get ready, decompress when coming home, and doing homework.
Some schools are considering holding all students back one year to make up for the lost time. Some are considering increasing the workload students do at home to make up for the lost time.
Preparing for these possibilities means speaking with the school, administration, and teachers to prepare your child.
Teachers got very used to being at home and having a reduced workload. There's no doubt that teachers have a difficult job and often spend off-hours preparing.
Many teachers are retiring or refusing to go back to the classroom, state they don't want to have the additional work required to be a teacher again. This could lead to a severe shortage in teachers.
Many fear parents will simply dump their kids into school, treating it more like a daycare. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many kids as both mothers and fathers are working. There has to be some place for the kids to go and school fulfills this role.
Regardless of how your children go back to school, you will need to work with your children's teachers to provide adequate learning. Having constructive conversations about the workload, especially if that workload is too much, can set more reasonable expectations.
Some schools are even planning to send homework home for the parents to help kids learn more and faster.
One thing seems to be the trend, however. School will not end at the end of the school day. More responsibility will be placed at home, taking the place of extracurricular activities, sports, music, and fun time.
Working with your children to make sure there is a healthy balance between school and allowing kids to have fun seems to be the greatest challenge. That starts with speaking to teachers and the school to know how classes will be run and work will be assigned.
Unlike any other school year before, parents need to be proactive in discovering what is best for their children. Cyber schools and charter schools are fast becoming the desired option for students who do not want to go back to traditional school.
Working this out is a difficult decision, but using what will best provide a healthy education for your child takes work and several serious discussions.