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Our decision between in person or virtual learning.

These are unprecedented times that even “What to expect” didn’t cover. No matter your decision, you made the best one.

Living just outside of Charleston, SC, all summer we watched as Covid-19 numbers continued to climb. The Charleston County School District (CCSD) communicated that they too were watching and waiting to make any concrete decisions for this next school year. Which meant the kids would either return to school in the fall in person, continue with virtual schooling, or a combination of both.

Kennedy 8th grade and Kelsey 7th grade

We were lucky

I’m not going to lie, when word came out on March 13th the kids would be taking on virtual learning, I freaked out. I work from home yes, but how would schooling at home look and how would I balance my work with the girls schooling?

Not very good.

Things slowed down drastically for me. I had a hard time focusing on projects and being there for the girls. This was new un-chartered territory for us all. Honestly, the girls did amazing and I am thankful for Courtney being there to help with the girls. Talking to other parents and seeing the comments on social media, I realized that we were quite lucky that the girls adapted as well as they did. Even though I constantly made them log in and show me that everything was up to date.

Kennedy’s last bus ride to school.

What about this coming school year?

Even though the girls did well during what I called “crisis schooling”, in an ideal world I want them to return to in person instruction. Unfortunately, with the Covid numbers fluctuating and the CCSD policies which are still too much “if this, then that”, in person instruction didn’t look promising.

Even if the kids do go in person to school, spots will be limited. Since I work from home it only felt right to leave these spots to the children of dual/ single working parents.

Kelsey doing work before catching the bus.

That left virtual schooling with a one year commitment. I was totally ok with going the virtual school route through CCSD until I saw a sample schedule, and the final straw was when the school start date changed from 8/19 to 9/8.

Taking ourselves out of the equation

Ever since March, things have felt out of control in every aspect of our lives. The things we looked forward to, gone. Places closed, policies changed, opinions heated and swirling in all of this was what to do about school. I desperately felt like I needed to regain control of something.

Which leaves the option of homeschool away from CCSD. Even that sounded awful because again I’m not a teacher with the patience of a saint, just being honest, nor do I feel adequate enough to teach the girls. (That’s a really hard pill to admit and swallow. But I own it and there’s no time to get my ego in the way.)

Regardless, neither option through CCSD seemed to fit and we wanted to have a say in some avenue of our life and school.

There’s homeschool and there’s virtual homeschool.

I’m not going to lie, it’s overwhelming the number of choices that are out there for homeschool. We barely had time to research because CCSD just released their plans, even thought they’re still pretty fluid, and we were holding out hope. We did find that a lot of the deadlines had passed or some homeschool options were already full. We had to make a decision fast because if we didn’t find something, it would be virtual learning through CCSD as a last resort.

Working on a “crisis school” art project.

Thankfully we did find a program and are at the tail end of the application process. Fingers crossed, if all goes well, the girls will start virtual homeschool 8/17. They will have teachers, structure, but also the flexibility we wanted as well. I’ll be there as more of a coach than an actual teacher, which is a win-win in my book. The school is accredited and if the girls want to, they could stay in through high school graduation. Right now, we’re just looking at this school year.

The decision isn’t easy, but whatever you choose, it’s the best one for your family.

It’s hard. We all want to do what’s best for our family and what makes the most sense, based on information we know right now. And I hated feeling like I was making decisions without having all of the information. We talked to the girls at length about the options and what they wanted. After all this is their schooling and truthfully, they have been asking to stay home even pre-Covid. The second we made the decision and started the application process to virtual homeschool, I felt a sense of relief. We love their CCSD school and their teachers, but we needed to do this for us.

Last day of school, crisis school, eLearning…

What’s next?

While we are waiting for the confirmation from the virtual homeschool, I’m getting my office ready for myself and the girls. I’ve already mapped out a schedule so I can get stuff done before they start their school day. I want to create the best environment and give them options in our home so we can all be productive. Of course I’ll keep you updated on the process and our set up.

Enjoying the last bit of summer before the new school year.

Bottom line

We all need to support one another. No option is perfect and us choosing to keep the girls home is not because we’re scared, it’s because we wanted to gain some sort of control in this very confusing and chaotic world right now. Our hope is that by keeping the girls home, we can free up space that will help with the social distancing needed in schools. Even if the numbers change and everyone else goes back to school, we made the best decision for us at the time. Doesn’t mean we can’t go back next year.

XOXO,
Brooke

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