When the pandemic struck, my oldest child was in a public high school. His school shut down after spring break and offered all online classes. Quite frankly, the whole experience was a disaster. All of the teachers were new to online schooling, and the classes had to be put together quickly. This learning environment was chaotic and confusing. Plus, the governor told all schools that children’s grades couldn’t be any lower than the grades they were receiving in person, so kids like my son, who were already receiving good grades, lost motivation. As the pandemic stretched into early summer, we made bold decisions about his education. There are several reasons why the pandemic affected our school choice.
Why the Pandemic Affected Our School Choice
Our goal is to give our child the best education for the circumstances, which required a different way of thinking for us.
In Person School Wouldn’t Be the Same
Our son is a social kid, and we knew he’d struggle with social distancing in school and being with a smaller cohort of kids because the school was going to stagger which kids go to school on which days.
We Didn’t Feel the Environment Would Be Safe
Frankly, with all we’re learning about COVID-19, we just didn’t feel the environment at school would be safe no matter how many precautions are taken. The virus thrives indoors with many people, and that’s the environment for schools. I know many schools are taking precautions, but for us, that’s not enough.
The School’s Online Platform Wouldn’t Work for Us
Our son’s school did offer a completely online option, and at first, we were interested in pursuing this. However, we learned that teachers will be in class teaching their classes with the students in person, and the online students will watch the class and try to participate that way.
I can’t imagine sitting through an entire school day online, every day. That means our son would be sitting in front of the computer for roughly 35 to 40 hours a week. Then, he’d get off the computer and do his homework. Quite frankly, doing this sounds exhausting.
What We Ultimately Chose
We ultimately decided to enroll our son in a completely online school. The teachers at this school only teach online, so they’re very familiar with this type of educational delivery. Just to make sure this option is right for him, we enrolled him in summer school.
The teachers are attentive, calling him to ask if he has questions and encouraging students to text them if they have issues. Students do most of the work independently, but they are required to go to one class a week per class. (The teacher only offers one class per week.)
Using this system, our child can do his work in flexible, safe, comfortable environment. He still engages with the teacher and other students during the online class, but he’s not required to sit at a computer for hours every day.
As you can see, there are several reasons why the pandemic affected our school choice. We’re still hopeful that the pandemic will no longer impact the 2021-2022 school year and that our son can go back to his public school then. But for now, we think we’ve made the best decision giving the unique circumstances we are all facing this upcoming academic year.
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in Arizona where she dislikes the summer heat but loves the natural beauty of the area.