School's Out? Let's Work Together To Help Our Kids And Each Other During This COVID Surge

Jan 19, 2022 at 2:41 pm
As local schools go back to NTI, LEO editor Erica Rucker says communities need to band together.
As local schools go back to NTI, LEO editor Erica Rucker says communities need to band together.

We’re back to NTI, homeschooling and early pandemic life in many ways. For a lot of parents in Jefferson County and parts of Indiana, the back and forth with the school system is putting a strain on their levels of stress and work life. The kids don’t know what the hell is going on from day to day and educators are fresh out of fucking ideas on how to deal with educating kids when consistency is nowhere to be found. There is no easy remedy, no one to really point fingers at anymore. We’re all complicit and all casualties of the COVID life. 

As far as educating our kids, it’s time that we stop fighting the inevitable and realize that while we are not all qualified to be educators with our kids and that some of us have so little time, we have to help both our schools and our kids. 

Currently, my son’s Montessori school is on break due to COVID and while I was almost ready for him to return to full-time school, this latest wave of COVID infections has put the brakes on that and forced me to make a choice. 

Luckily, I work at home much of the time but I had to find a way, with the work I do have to perform, to give my son some one-on-one instruction time. I have a bit of instructional background so I can give him that. Considering my skills gave me an idea. So I suggested to his school that, if necessary, they might use my skills to help boost the at-home educational content the kids have available. I can read a book or tell kids how to write sentences. It’s not a big deal and offering to read for 15 or 20 minutes might actually help me, too. 

“Good for you, Erica.” Yeah, yeah, but hear me out. This isn’t as tree-hugging or privileged an idea as it might seem. It’s just about collectivism and moving our kids along in a big ass village that is thinking about them more than the risk or inconvenience. 

Sure, I can offer some small help, but my thought is that lots of parents, probably more than realize it, have a skill or an ability that they could share digitally or even via a phone call for their kids, for the school and for the sake of all the parents who really don’t have the time or capacity. My idea is only a question: What can we do to make this mess work for the kids?

There is still a true digital divide where many homes are not equipped to deal with fully online classrooms and schools. Insert that this might be a really good time for Gov. Beshear — and those bloviating right-wing legislators concerned about abortions and gerrymandering — to focus some attention and solutions on a real issue. Even if you’re a Republican, you know that these priorities seem a little off, so I’m asking for your help in redirecting your legislators. 

Employers, you’re just going to have to fucking deal with it and help your employees with children in school. Maybe offer an adjusted schedule or help fund internet access for employees or offer Chromebooks (the inexpensive wizard of online learning).

The bottom line is that this mess is a collective one and the only solution is all hands on deck taking some part in helping as we continue to navigate the new world. 

If you have a smartphone or computer with a camera, record a short video of you reading a book or telling your kid about something newsworthy or historial. When you know that your time is short, offer that to them, via email or on a flash drive. If you don’t have that capacity, ask other parents if they have ideas or even lessons to help your children with a school issue. 

Call your school, offer to record some content, to make copies, or pack lunches for food insecure families. Many schools are already employing these tactics, so I’m in no way an innovator here, but what I want to see is a region of people who just don’t give up due to frustration. 

NTI might not be the answer but your help and even just five minutes of your time might be. Our kids are watching us. If you’re working at home, put your kid in your office and let them work side-by-side with you. There is always a second when you can look over to their work and lift them up with a kind word or get them through a minor tough spot. 

For the parents who are laughing at all of these suggestions because COVID has left you zero time or delirious, call those of us who have some time and are willing. We gotta make it through COVID and if one of us with a little time or skill can help you, reach out. It’s for the kids.

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