Back to school. It’s August and it seems every time I get on the phone another mom ask the questions, “what are you doing for school?”; “Have you guys decided?”; “Are you home or remote?” My response is always “We are still figuring it out.”
We know our local school district is remote until October 5th doing online school. We understand some of the other districts in the area are remote until January doing online school. More and more of the Chicago area schools are choosing to do online/remote school to protect our teachers, to protect our kids and to help reduce the covid exposures.
For us and our family we have to figure out what school looks like for us. We are finding our own way there. We are journeying though this and we do not know exactly what it will look like.
It is “clear as mud”. This phrase comes from one of my past computer science professors who would do a 2 hour lecture and then say “It’s clear as mud”. Yes, we kinda knew what she said and yet it was still so unclear. This is what keeps coming back to me this year as we prepare to go back to school. It is clear as mud.
We know we are going back to school. We know that we will be doing some sort of education and growth. We know the students will be expected to learn and participate. Yet, we do not know what this will look like in a day to day environment. We know it does not look like the old normal. We do not know what the new normal looks like. This is where the mud comes in. We know it might be slow going. Again muddy. You might have to trudge through it and find your daily rhythm and your weekly rhythm. Finding your way through it as it progresses. It is ok. It will be ok.
Our family created a rhythm board over the weekend. We have done many things in preparation for the new normal from building desks, setting up bookshelves and gathering supplies into one area. For those of you in the Lean world our rhythm board is basically a visual Kanban with a column for each child. Picture cards of what need to be done, which are like user stories. You place the cards in the order you need to be doing the activities. I may be a nerd, although we now have a visual representation of how we expect our day to flow. We understand this is just an expectation and we are learning our new rhythm for back to school. We understand expectations are just that, expectations, and they can be thrown out the window if they are not actual agreements. Although, it is a step forward, similar to setting up desks and gathering supplies.
I understand and realize many other people are in the same state and we do not have the answers. We are finding it. I along with a few other moms in the Chicago North Suburbs have created a Facebook group to find our way together. I want this group to help us get through the year.
A mommy friend messaged me this week and said “what are you going to do?” My simple response was “we will figure it out together”. She asked, “what do you do when you are frustrated?” “Sometimes I yell”, I responded. This is the truth. We need to have more conversations around the truth and what really is happening. We need to find new ways forward, creative ways and perhaps a little weird. Ways that we can move forward together.
I believe all of our students will learn resilience from this time. They will learn to figure out things for themselves and to work autonomously.
The thought of completely remote and lack of co-location with other kids, honestly makes me have anxiety at times for their psychological safety and mental well being. I will continue to learn and grow in this space to help more moms and children thrive in the new normal. I believe this is where mom groups can support each other. Send Tiffany a message to be added to our Local Chicago Mindful Mommies Group on Facebook.
In our next article we will be sharing a few must haves for the at home school space.