September 09, 2020

The School Year Nightmare

Even though summer technically isn't over for a couple more weeks, it feels like it's officially fall now that the kids are back in school. Yesterday was their first day. (Eli is on the left, Noah is on the right)

I can't say anything other than that it felt... weird.

I didn't feel the slightest bit prepared because of everything happening with COVID and the different school schedules--going to school 2-3 days a week and learning from home 2-3 days a week.

(Yes, Eli is taller than Noah... and if he wanted to, he could be a BEAST if he started working out. The kid is solid muscle.)

It was Eli's first day of high school, and I feel bad that it wasn't "normal", or even fun. There were only about 10 freshmen there! (Some kids are learning from home full-time, and the rest are divided by days of the week.) He said that he doesn't have any friends in his classes.

Noah's taking college courses now, so his day gets over at 10:55! Still, he said his first day back "sucked". Apparently there are two classes that are the same course but at different times and he went to the wrong one. He sat through the entire class before he realized what had happened.

I hoped today would be better, but it was kind of a disaster. Neither of the kids had to go to school today, but they did have to attend their classes online. Eli has a class every hour, so he had to sign into a new class every hour. However, the new system is using Google Classroom, which I didn't even know was a thing.

The teachers clearly aren't familiar with it, and it's new to the kids and parents as well. I assumed the "online learning" would consist of a live stream of their teachers lecturing, and then an assignment of some sort to do at home. However, Eli only had two teachers "attend" the classes, and it wasn't an online lecture. They took attendance and posted an assignment and that was it!

Eli's assignments consisted of a WORD SEARCH (he's in high school!) and a math worksheet with equations like "-6 + 2= ?" I'm hoping that his teachers are just using those as a way to test out the system and not as a learning tool...? Eli was sitting at the dining room table all day long at his computer and for what? To "learn how to retread tires"? (Forrest Gump reference ;) )

I'm certainly no computer genius, but I do know how to do quite a bit due to my blog. And it still took me a good hour to figure out how to have Eli do the word search online. (We eventually had to take a screenshot of it, open it in Microsoft Paint, and then highlight the words from there... ugh!). I'm also a Mac user lover and having to use the school's Chromebook was another learning experience. 

I know this isn't the teachers' fault--they are as new to this as we are. But I can totally see this school year being a disaster. I'm a stay-at-home mom with a relatively decent knowledge of computers; what about the kids who have parents that both work full-time and don't know about computers?

I know that I'm not the only parent feeling this way, but today I felt SO overwhelmed and just generally upset. Noah is doing fine with his Zoom classes (I wish Eli's school would do the same!) but I feel like it's up to me to make sure Eli gets through this mess. 

He had a Spanish I assignment but he hasn't learned any Spanish yet! Thankfully, I took four years of Spanish and I can at least help him with the basics, but how can kids be expected to do assignments without having lectures?

I wish I could say that I handled this graciously, but I did not. I had a small tantrum (and then I wondered if I was possibly being live-streamed to Eli's class? Haha! Not that I used any curse words or anything... ahem) and then I bought a bag of chips from the convenience store and ate them repetitiously. For no reason other than the fact that I was overwhelmed and stressed out.

I had been doing SO good at breaking the bad habits, but the emotional eating is something I'll probably forever have a problem with. I don't even know why I did it--I felt bad about it the entire time I was eating the chips. 

I still did my walks today, though. It's funny--I've really started enjoying them to the point that I look forward to them. (Yes, that's a big deal for me!) They're an escape, of sorts. I hope that someday, I will feel that they are a better escape than Dill Pickle Lay's, but for now, they are a close second.

I even took Joey with me for my second walk--it was a misty day and I knew the asphalt wouldn't be too hot on his paws. (I don't usually take him in the afternoons--not only do I enjoy the time alone, but I also know that it'd be hot for him.)

I cleaned the garage this morning (after Emily and I worked on her Little Free Library, it was pretty messy) and right after I finished, my brother Brian came over with Luke and Riley (my nephew and niece). I asked his opinion about the front porch because we really need to do something about it soon, so he helped me figure out a plan for that. And then I showed them the garage. I felt proud when Brian complimented the windows that I'd framed in :) 

For the rest of the day, however, I wore sweats, sans bra, and read a book. I was interrupted occasionally to help Eli with this online stuff, but other than that, I just wanted to forget about "real life" for the time being.

I'm hoping that this week is just about working out the kinks in the online learning, and that next week will be smoother. I know that I'm not the only parent feeling overwhelmed, and I know that Eli's not the only student feeling lost, so at least there's that. 

Tomorrow, I've decided, if I am feeling overwhelmed, I will go for a walk instead of eating chips (or whatever else). I've been working too hard for the last 50-something days to screw it up now by stuffing my face for emotional reasons.

For any other parents (or teachers!) going through the same thing right now, I feel for you! <3


  1. My sons have hybrid classes also and the first few days were so odd online. Then I realized the first few days of school are always imagine spreading the book pass out, syllabus handout, etc. Spread out over multiple days. It isn't perfect a week and a half later but it is getting better.
    I will agree it isn't anything like what we planned though!

  2. Thanks for sharing. I have two boys that will be starting a similar schedule soon. I don't expect much of a different experience. For assignments I typically print them and then complete them upload them using my phone. I will have to try the paint app. I feel that teacher's are scrambling and stressed. I do take grace - just need to find a healthy outlet to get us through these strange times.
    Your boys are so big - good job raising handsome young lads.

  3. Gosh I can't even imagine what a mess this school year is :( I feel so bad for students, parents and teachers alike! There just has to be a better system out there, especially for those doing the online learning. I hope things get better soon! I cannot believe how tall your kids are!!

  4. I have been teaching exclusively online since school started a little over a month ago. The first week is the worst for both students and teachers. Everyone is figuring out how to wade through the tech and get the students comfortable with the online environment. That first week I considered it a win if my students just made it to class. I am surprised to hear no instruction is happening. I give instruction live or through video 4 days a week for my students. Fingers crossed things get better.

  5. Our options for school: Homeschool (not online), or actual school. First day was Tuesday, then off Wednesday and back today (Thursday). Her class is moved to the gym (for distancing) which means no windows. She hates it. Going to be a long year, if school doesn't shut down sooner. We had our first case announced in a school in our city on the 2nd day of classes. I am sure many more are to come.

  6. My daughter is a 6th grade teacher. They started back a weeks ago and there were definitely some bumps and bruises the first few weeks, but as long as your kids get decent teachers, they will adjust. My daughter has been very creative and I think her class loves her. She's working very hard to keep them engaged and to try and give them the support they need through this unprecedented time, unfortunately not all teachers will be the same. Hang in there!

  7. Sorry it’s been sucky for the boys. Wish the first day of high school could’ve been normal but at least most of high school should be normal for him.

    As for the chips, you recognized it and that’s great. There’s been days where I’ve done 3 workouts over the mandatory 2. Walk it out or drink more water. You’re awesome. And while I’m reminding you you’re awesome...Thank you so much for your post Monday. I want to call you and thank you more personally but I’d just be crying. Seriously, it’s like my cookie jar in HTML form. Thank you/love you.

  8. We started this week as well and we chose full remote. I didn't understand google classroom at all and made about 765 calls to the school. I was so stressed by the end of the day that I went and got a kit kat and enjoyed it. My body also hurt from being so upset. Just know you aren't alone.

  9. My son is also on a hybrid schedule because too many kids wanted to go back to traditional learning. So the whole HS is forced to do hybrid. He has virtual learning 3 days and in class 2 days. He claims to be done with everything within about 30 minutes with his virtual so I'm having his dad sit with him Monday to actually see what all he has to do.

  10. Girl, when you posted the other day about the boys school starting, and I heard the optimism/excitement in your tone, I bit my tongue. We've been in since August 24. My 7 year old is 100% virtual learning, and my husband and I work full time. And the structure is basically what you described...there is no "teaching" happening. They have a zoom meeting twice a day for 30 minutes in the morning to give the lesson and one at the end of the day to go over questions. My husband and I decided that virtual learning MIGHT be appropriate for 5th grade and up, but I don't see that it makes any sense for the littles. We put him in a private school (that we have to pay for, ugh), since we can't be home to teach him. Nightmare all the way around.

  11. My kids are all online, while my husband and I both work out of the home. Major mom guilt yesterday as it was their first day and I wasn't there to help. Between Covid, the fires all around us (WA state), and school, my anxiety is bad and so is my eating. Got to get it together!

  12. My kids (1st, 5th, 7th) are fully virtual and all using google classroom. Once kids, teachers, and parents know how to use it, it's not that bad. But until *everyone* knows what they're doing, it's a total shit show. My 6yo can now independently log on to her chromebook with one password, log into the school ID portal with another 10 digit ID and password, get to her google classroom, join her live meetings, and complete and turn in assignments on multiple applications. That's equal parts sad and amazing. Between the 3 of them they are online off and on all day, with varying overlapping breaks depending on the day of the week. While I work from home full time. This all makes me want to day drink. A lot.

  13. My heart goes out to all the parents. I just can't imagine. I know so many families struggling. Sending all the good vibes and much love your way. My motto here? JUST KEEP THEM ALIVE!!!

  14. I also stress ate on the first day of school and messed up my eating window. Darn it.

  15. I work on the weekends, so I get to stay home with the kids during the week. After we first were put on quarantine and had to remote learn (Kindergarten for us....this year it's 1st grade and preschool), I was like, nope! Not going to do this crap! So I bought an actual home schooling program and decided to home school both of my kids. No Zooms, No online lessons, no staring at the computer all day. I'm the one in charge. And I LOVE it! I'm so glad my kids aren't in junior high or high school because this would definitely be a nightmare!!! That is a LOT to keep up with!!!


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