Our state officially made the declaration yesterday that schools wouldn’t be re-opening until the fall, an announcement that came as absolutely no surprise but was still very disappointing for both a lot of parents worrying about day care and children desperate to see their friends and socialize. ( I say this as the parent of a third grader, realizing that older kids, particularly those graduating, face different challenges. )
Here the news was greeted with shrugs, an e-mail read in between a gym class spent on our bikes and an hour of using fractions to name parts of a group that she seemed to pick up faster than I did.
As I’ve mentioned before we are very fortunate to not have day care issues, her mother and I rearranging our schedules from the beginning so that one of us was almost always available for her. Since she’s reached school age, too often my part of that equation has been limited to mornings, Wednesday nights and every other weekend. I’m missing out on spring golf and seem to have developed a new hatred of fractions but I’ll confess that even though most everything about this really, really sucks, I’m kind of loving all of this extra time we’ve had.
I was curious about why she didn’t care though. My daughter is an extremely social child, a nice way of saying that she talks constantly and to anybody that will listen. She’s also intelligent enough to realize by now that I only hear about 10% of what she is saying. As far as I knew she enjoyed school, liked her teacher and always looked forward to seeing her friends.
It turns out that all that was true but for now she was content talking to her friends via face time, liked being able to stay up later and not be woken up in the morning and quite frankly was sick and tired up putting up with several obnoxious little boys in her class. She also liked all the extra time that she was getting with me.
She said all of this while on a leisurely walk and picnic we took during an extended lunch break today, something that we do often now and a great way to spend time together and have real conversations without distraction. Something that on a typical Wednesday in May wouldn’t have been happening.
It gave me a lot more to think about than I was expecting, starting with the little punks and ending with the unwelcome return of dad guilt that I feel for a good portion of the year. I know that what we are doing now isn’t really homeschooling and it feels disrespectful to say there is a silver lining to something that as of this writing has killed 260,000 people worldwide and 72,000 here in The States but it’s crossed my mind over the past week that maybe she doesn’t really need to go back when the schools reopen.
It’s probably not something that we will seriously consider. I know that home schooling is a great option for a lot of children but this one would get bored, the novelty of dad as teacher wearing off soon and my patience not being capable of bearing the strain forever. School might be different when it does eventually start back up but more than likely we will both be very happy and relieved when it does.
In the meantime though, I’m not only going to enjoy this time but also feel pretty good about the fact that she is too.