I’m currently experiencing every emotion under the sun. Even so, I feel calm that Vermont schools will be closed for in-person learning.
I’m guessing you have been on the same emotional roller coaster in the past few weeks. Anxiety, stress, helplessness, hopelessness – am I missing any? Either way, it has been one heck of a ride, am-I-right? But the one emotion I wasn’t expecting to feel while working full time from home and trying to suddenly homeschool my 6 and 7 year-old sons during a global pandemic is – calm.
I think the most stressful part of our current reality, for me, has been the uncertainty around my children’s education. They’ve been home with me since March 16th. On their last day in school, they were both sent home with a packet of work and a chrome book. The packet of work was supposed to last them through April 6 and the school has been communicating regularly. So, they were all set, right?
But for me, as a life-long procrastinator, I was doing what we wanted and fitting school in where I could. The way I was handling our little sabbatical was definitely not sustainable for much more than a few weeks, and I knew that.
I also had a million thoughts and anxieties running through my head about how to homeschool my two boys and maintain our household while working full time from home. I’d expressed concerns to friends about what to do if schools did go back into session on April 6th (as I did not think that was a good idea and likely wouldn’t have sent my kids back, anyway). But even making that possible decision to keep them home was riddled with uncertainties. Would the state allow us to keep our kids home without penalty? Would the boys be able to follow their school curriculum or would I need to create and submit a full homeschool plan?
I was driving myself crazy with worry, and my anxiety was paralyzing me.
So, when the Governor announced on Thursday afternoon that Vermont schools will be closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, the first emotion that washed over me was calm. I could let go of the anxiety of not knowing and start to formulate a plan. I no longer needed to worry about all of the possibilities.
So, that’s what I did. I sat down this morning and began to outline a daily schedule that will work for my family for the next 2.5 months (because after that, I’m sure I’ll be burning the school work in our backyard fire pit while dancing in circles around the flames and pouring wine down my throat).
I’m finding comfort in knowing I just have to do it. And, I’m choosing to believe that I can do it.
Who knows my boys better than me? And they’re still little, it’s not like I’ll be teaching them chemistry.
Now, I absolutely do feel so much sadness and empathy for the seniors who will likely be missing some of the most memorable times of their lives with their senior class trips, proms, and graduations do to Vermont schools being closed. I feel for the high school athletes who may miss out on the best season of their lives, a varsity letter, or a shot at an athletic scholarship. That is a difficult pill to swallow. But I know our communities will find ways to celebrate these young people and their achievements. Much will be revealed about the character of this next generation based on how they persevere through these uncertain times.
And, I know that I am extraordinarily lucky to work from home and to know that my husband will be working from home for at least the foreseeable future. I’m sure Vermont schools being closed would elicit more questions than calm from me if I was an essential worker trying to figure out how to homeschool my kids while working outside of the home. I have so much love and respect for all of the truly essential personnel who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe through this crisis. I don’t envy them or the decisions they’ll need to make.
Even though I say that I’m feeling calm right now, I’m sure my next breakdown is just around the corner. But, for the time being, I feel a sense of calmness knowing I can begin to, somewhat, plan what our new reality will look like.