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Lessons from an unusual school year

We’ve made it. I mean, we’ve almost made it.

Technically we have school all week. But I think we can all see the flag of surrender. It’s been waving for weeks, but now that flag is battered and torn and gray and lying in the street next to the log-in instructions for yet another week of remote learning.

This school year? The one that started all shiny and full of promise back in August? It’s tired. It’s finished. It’s over.

What a year.

When I look back on the past three months, I realize how much I’ve learned.

  1. I don’t need to plan dinner ahead of time, but if I don’t think about lunch before the day starts, it will be 4 p.m. and we’ll all be grumpy because we’re starving.
  2. Alexa was designed to remind children to get on their classes. But if you don’t tell Alexa what time class is, no one will remember to get online.
  3. You can log a child on for an online class, but you can’t force him to pay attention or participate.
  4. The teachers have superpowers.
  5. Do you know how many quarts are in a liter? Or liters in a quart? Me neither. I really should repeat fourth grade.
  6. No one wants the school year to end as much as Mom does.

Then I think about how much our children have learned.

  1. If you turn off your camera and microphone, you can do anything you want during class and no one will ever know.
  2. If Mom is in a meeting, you can eat buckets of Skittles, and she’ll never notice.
  3. If Mom is in a meeting, you can play video games without asking.
  4. If Mom is in a meeting, you can basically do whatever you want.
  5. If your parents say no the first time you ask for a pet bird, just keep asking. They’ll weaken over time.

This week I went to the boys’ schools to pick up their belongings. It was a mad scramble to get out the door to go—sort of like a regular school day, only it was just Mom trying to scribble names and grades on pieces of paper to put in the front window.

I came home from one school with a bag of goodies and school supplies. I came home from the other with a certificate and a lock.

There is something sad about the way this year ended. The children missed out on time with friends and much richer academic learning experiences than we were able to offer at home.

But they’ve had fun together. We’ve spent more time together as a family than we usually would. And I’m sure they’ve reached level bazillion in their video games.

I’m grateful it’s over. Bring on summer vacation. Bring on time outside and reading and all the joys of warmer weather. And bring on the pet birds.