📷 Spencer Gallichan-Lowe/CBC
Avery was on the 6 o’clock news last week. The title of the CBC news segment was, “Why some parents of kids with special needs are making the ‘heart-breaking’ choice of at-home learning.” You can read the full story on the CBC website HERE and the video segment that aired is below.
When the reporter called to talk to me about our decision to opt out of in person learning, I had a lot to say. When she asked if I’d appear on camera to elaborate, I agreed (even though I was in “active wear” and hadn’t washed my hair in um, awhile). The news van would be at our house in an hour so I scrambled to shower and find something to wear. As an aside, the camera really does add 20+ pounds, so high waisted pants that tie at the midriff, paired with a tight tank that belongs to your daughter is not the most flattering wardrobe choice. But I digress…
As I got dressed, I braced myself for a difficult discussion. We had given ourselves a deadline of September 1st to tell our daughter she wouldn’t be attending school in person.
I dreaded breaking this news to her. But, since the actual news was on their way to our house, I had to tell her.
Turns out she’s known or at least suspected for awhile. My son said, “Mum, she totally knows.” And she did. This child is far more observant than I give her credit for.
Let’s just say she’s not thrilled, but she’s surprisingly okay. She understands why it’s safer for her at home. She’s actually quite excited about attending “Thornbury Academy.” In preparation for the unfortunate inevitable, I’ve been up-selling the heck out of how much fun at home learning will be. (I’ll post about that soon because some of the activities are so easy and fun and totally doable).
I’m relieved she’s okay with the decision. But in truth, I’m not as okay with it as she is. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of homeschooling this year.
There will be some kind of distance learning program in place (we still haven’t gotten any info on that yet) but ask any parent of a young child or child with learning/attention difficulties and they’ll attest to the 💩 show that is independent learning online. Without a parent sitting right there, coaching and explaining and redirecting, it’s a circus. It’s definitely a challenge keeping kids interested and engaged especially when they’re hands-on learners, like my daughter.
But as frustrated and disappointed as I am, it’s nothing compared to the parents who don’t have the choice to keep their child at home. What are they supposed to do, quit their jobs? Some of their kids are teens, but they can’t be left alone at home. These parents are beyond stressed, having to weigh their child’s health against the necessity to work and pay the bills.
Plus, many atypical kids need the structure, social interaction, and teaching expertise and learning supports and therapies found at school. They thrive at school.
This situation isn’t anything anyone imagined we’d be in. As Avery said in the interview, “Online is okay, but I just want to go to my school. It’s really hard. I want this virus to be over.”
To my fellow parents, I’m sending you so much support. And, an extra big hug to our teachers, EAs, and school admin. We know you’re doing your absolute best in this impossible situation.