Our Virtual Schooling Experience at a Preschool Level

IMG_3125At the beginning of February Colton had his first official day of preschool…6 weeks later he went for the last day of his first quarter. In those short 6 weeks Colton flourished. He grew up so much, was so excited for each school day (seriously- non-school days were a definite struggle for him), and his development really took off.

Let me start with this, we would have tried to put Colton in a preschool program regardless of any issues he may or may not have had. Colton is a very high energy kid and I wanted him to be “exposed” to a classroom setting of some sort before he was thrust into Kindergarten. Colton has had a speech delay, not in a nonverbal sense, but in an understanding words delay. So, after completing the testing, he was enrolled in our “district” preschool program.

So, Colton LOVED preschool. He would come home with the biggest smile, he was learning so much, he made quite a few friends, experienced significant changes in his speech, and, most importantly, he had something that was “just Colton”. It’s been “Colton and Andrew” was so long and as many of us know, we need things that are just for us as well. That was preschool for Colton. He thrived.

When Coronavirus really started to spike and we started to see the changes coming down for places closing, I got a little worried about school. Afterall, Colton was in preschool and, while it was through the district and for a speech delay, I didn’t know how “important” it would be considered in the grand scheme of things. There are children with much larger needs and problems, my kid just needed a little shove/help from someone who wasn’t mom/dad/understood him as he was.

Untitled Design 52

His teachers have been absolutely incredible throughout this entire process. They very quickly emailed all of us parents, letting us know that they were working the problem and trying to figure out what they were going to do to continue working. The “district” did not foresee the preschool continuing on when they made the google classroom plan, so the teachers quickly workshopped a different platform that, actually ended up being a much better option for the younger kids.

They created incredible Digital Learning Plans that made it really easy for parents to incorporate into the day to day lives of children and they were very calm and patient throughout the entirety of the 2 ½ months of this digital learning. They recognized that they only saw the students for a limited time a day, that many had older (or younger) siblings at home that needed their own care, that this is a very different time right now. They’ve been great.

And, I’ll be honest, Digital Learning hasn’t been all that bad. Sure, I’ve ranted and raved about it at times when the focus level was low, or Andrew wasn’t letting Colton get things done, or when things got frustrating with technology, BUT on the whole it hasn’t been bad. It also hasn’t been school though either.

I said it earlier and I’ll say it again, more of my concern with Colton in so far as preschool was concerned was introducing him to a classroom setting, a teacher, a different place that he had to listen, behave, and learn. I wanted to have a little “soft” introduction to the idea of school before Kindergarten hit and he was in it “for real”.

This wasn’t it. Sure, he had weekly video chats with his two teachers (one speech, one preschool), and we had countless activities that his teachers would give feedback with (mostly positive stuff that you would expect), but it wasn’t the classroom. It was mommy’s desk with little brother screaming/playing/running in the background, and daddy working at his desk on the other side of the room. It was chaotic and it became a family affair, rather than the Colton show.

Overall Colton has really excelled in this new wave of schooling. He has adjusted remarkably well and has slid back in terms of speech or education, but he knows it hasn’t been at school. He’s been bummed about not being able to ride his little school bus, see his friends, or play on the playground. Every morning he wakes up asking if today is the day he will go back to school.

And, with about two weeks left in the “school” year (I used quotes as the teaching stopped a week or so before the proper end of the school year), he checked out. He was done. No interest in any of the activities or meetings whatsoever. It became akin to pulling teeth to have him sit down and focus on the work that he needed to do for any longer than 10 minutes. I think he just had enough with the situation, with not being able to do these things in person, and having to share all of that with little brother. (And, in all honesty I was surprised it took him as long as it did to get fed up)

And for me? Well, I have an entirely newfound respect for preschool teachers.

I’ve always respected teachers (hell I want to be one), BUT you forget how much stuff you aren’t born knowing. You forget how much you had to learn and while there are some things that parents can teach (and I have been teaching those things), in Colton’s case, he needed that shove from an outside source.

Anyways, all this to say, Digital Learning has not been a breeze, but we’ve honestly had it easy. I don’t work at the moment, we have access to a computer, to the internet, to the materials that are needed to do the various activities. And we only have one child in preschool. It’s been much harder for many others that I know, talk to, and follow. Nor has it necessarily been a positive experience for our kids. Here’s to hoping we have a few workable solutions for the 2020-2021 school year.

“Do It All and Look Good Doing It”

**I don’t honestly know if I’ve done a post on this before, but I feel like it really feels right to talk about right now***

***Oh, also I feel like the next few posts are going to all basically be somewhat of the same message, phrased differently. Maybe. Just a possibility. So, there’s that heads up for you***

Ah fall. The best time of year. September. Busy times are ahead for everyone. I feel like as much as well all LOVE fall, it’s also one of the busiest times of year in any life. Whether you are a mom with kids going back to school, an employee, business owner, student, whatever it is- fall can be hectic. We find ourselves ending any summer holidays, trying to get into that routine again and before too long the winter holidays come and it’s time to start that holiday shopping. Yes, it goes by that fast!

With all of the things going on, it is super easy to fall into the trap of feeling that “do it all & look good” feeling. There is such a pressure, on really anyone, but I find it mostly applies to women and mothers, of needing to be able to do everything with a smile on your face and heels on your feet. Not only are we pressured to be able to do everything, but also to keep ourselves looking in tip top shape. To be quite blunt…eff that.

We cannot do everything, and yet we sacrifice things to still try and do that. WHY?! Why can we not take a step back and really look at what we are missing out on? What are we actually missing out on? Why do we have such a hard time saying no? Why are we constantly pushing ourselves past our limits? For what? We get such a pressure, both from ourselves and from others (who may not even realize they are doing it) and it can make things so much harder.

Life is short and we only get one chance to really live it. Do we want to spend our lives running in a race against ourselves to get to the next thing, to cross all the t’s and dot all the I’s? OR do we want to stop every once in a while and enjoy what we have. Enjoy time with those who are in our lives. It is up to us to make that determination and up to us to put our feet down and say I don’t want to “do it all”. I don’t want to live my life this way. In this endless cycle.

I will say, I take the time to make myself look good in the mornings because it makes me feel good. I take the time to spend time with my husband and children because I love them and I cherish our times together. I take the time to write, to read, to enjoy my cup of tea. I take the time because that is what is important to me. That’s not to say that I don’t fall into that trap of “I need to be doing all of the things”. When I feel that start to happen I take a second to kind of check myself. To remind myself what is important to me. My husband. My family. What do I want and what do I find important right now.

In the next week or so, I am going to talk about the burning question that I get from everyone, as well as how I handle this pressure of checking off every item of my to do list. As well as the constant need to just be doing all of the things all of the time and look good while doing them.

Real Talk: “Fall”-ing Into a Routine

We are nearing the end of that Summer Bliss and heading in to the reality of schedules and routines. Whether you have children that are going to back to school, you yourself are going back to school or your own Summer holiday from work has come to an end, Fall always comes around with a need to get back into “the swing of things”. I am going to be doing different posts in the coming weeks all about routines, schedules, prioritizing and what not, but I wanted to have a real talk post starting this all off. 

Let’s be honest, having a schedule can always help, no matter what stage of life you are in. Not only does it give you a chance to be more productive, it can also help you feel a little more organized. More organized, less frazzled is always a good thing. Life has a habit of creeping in and even the most organized of people can become really busy and then a little frazzled. Instead of letting that busy-ness get to you in a way where you start dropping the ball, it’s better to have some sort of system, routine, planner, something to help you so when it seems like life is too busy, you still have what you need to keep things together. It won’t stop life from being busy, but it will help you from feeling off kilter when things become busy. 

With all of that being said, having a schedule or a routine can be really hard and it can be really hard to stick to. Life gets busy (have I mentioned that yet?!) and when it gets busy, we tend to just let go, free fall, and just go for a ride. It is really important that when things get busy, we still try to maintain some semblance of a schedule. It will help keep your mind straight when you are too busy to think and it will help you not drop the ball on any important things coming up. It’s definitely the harder choice, so much easier to just let go and ride the busy wave, but it is so much more worth it. 

For me personally, having a schedule or routine helps me not only accomplish everything that I want to accomplish, but also helps me prioritize and really look at what I can and cannot do everyday. I can clearly see where my time is going and what I am regularly able to accomplish, along with what I can’t or maybe need help with. This has allowed me to be much calmer and more willing to ask for help or let something slide off the list for the week. Most days I don’t end the day wondering what I’ve even done (although there are still some of those), I end them saying I’ve done xy&z and still need to do a&b. 

Do you have a routine or a schedule? How about a to-do list? How do you plan on tackling coming back from vacation or back into the school routine?