I went to bed last night watching my Facebook feed stream by with excited parents across Canada giddily awaiting the morning like it was Christmas Eve. Across the country, lunches were prepped, backpacks loaded down with supplies and school clothes laid out in preparation.
Instead over here in B.C., I sat twitching in my bed, trying my hardest not to let the anxiety overwhelm me.
It’s been 10 weeks since the school doors closed in mid-June due to job action and lockouts. Ten weeks of summer fun that slowly but surely slid into summer boredom. The idea of filling even more weeks is overwhelming for us parents.
The stress creeps in
It is our first day of school and my kids are bored. They are sick of us. As a parent I want to stomp and scream and throw a tantrum. I am pissed. Not at anyone in particular; in fact at this stage I am so overwhelmed with information from so many sides I have given up following it.
Blame game aside, I cannot deny that our family is down to one income for the third month in a row. We prepare for one parent to stay home in the summer, but continuing that is a struggle — and we are a family of entrepreneurs with flexible work schedules and reasonable finances. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for others.
I also cannot deny the impact on my children. The two eldest, going into Grades 3 and 6 are outright depressed. They know what they are missing (friends, fun and a fresh start to the year) and instead they have Mom, Dad and a list of educational websites hastily tossed together and thrown at them.
This is what happens when ill-prepared adults with no teaching credentials are forced to use their mediocre skills to attempt to educate our kids.
We are three hours in and I can tell you now, we won’t make it indefinitely. We didn’t sign up for homeschooling. We will not be able to offer our kids education without the help of someone trained to do it.
We have skills that both my husband and I have refined over time and we can do things that many people can’t, but we can’t teach our kids the elementary school requirements.
But, we go on. We do our very best as parents, trying to spark our kids minds, engage and keep them active. We try and balance our work and our budgets and our families, again, for another week, another month.
I have always trusted the educational system I grew up with. I understood the rules and how to work with it (and sometimes around it) But now, to not have anything at all? It is incomprehensible to me.
Not a bad education for my kids, but NO education.
I can’t help but get a little more bitter each time I see another shiny picture of little Johnny going to kindergarten in Ontario, or Sally’s new pair of shoes on her first day of Grade 3. I look over at my kids spending another 10 minutes on a learning app while curled up on our couch. I hear my husband as he scurries between our three children, explaining what the letter B looks like (don’t ask, you won’t like the answer) and then breaking down reading comprehension from Grade 3.
We are skilled in loving our kids. In teaching them life skills, giving them courage to explore the world and ask questions. We are here to support their failures and show them how to chase dreams and help them conquer challenge.
But teaching them 6th grade math is definitely out of our scope!
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