It is July and the schools are in a whirlwind with making decisions about the upcoming year of school. Will it be virtual school, homeschool, or opposite day school? What will be the design for the classroom, bathroom, and lunchroom distancing? What will be the requirements of PPE gear for students and teachers? How will teachers managing online and in-person class? I talked to a school official who said they could not give me any insight on the decisions because they didn’t have any answers and most districts have not made all the decisions. Did I mention that it is July and the schools in my area go back to school in August?
Parents are wrestling with many questions in their heads about what will they do. Will I send my child to virtual school and if I do can they manage the responsibilities of being at home and getting school work? How will I as a parent concentrate on work with my concerns about my child being at home? As a parent, I’m use to the school feeding my child breakfast and lunch? How will I provide food for my child or children? Do I fix meals at home they can microwave? Do I pack up cold lunches? How will I work out all these details?
I have an idea! I advise all parents to form a cohort or support group in your neighborhood. Let me tell you a little about what that looks like. As a former military family when your husband went on 7month to 1year deployment the neighbors banded together to help you out. Let’s take 3 families equalling 6 kids. We carpooled kids to school and practices. We shared the duty of making community meals for a day of the week. Jackie may have had one day to cook a meal for all three families. Maylene may have had another day and Renee another. This was a tremendous help. Even homework time was a community effort. If someone was good at a subject they could help those kids in the cohort family with that subject. I know we say it takes a village to raise a child but in the military community, it has been practiced. Now does this take planning? Yes. Everyone must bring their work and home schedules together. Everyone must come to know what support you need. Discussions about your strengths and weaknesses is needed so they can be brought to the table. It’s work but its worth it.
When people are uncertain about outcomes they may feel some level of fear about handling things out alone. There are many benefits of banding together as a community for all involved. In a community, you provide stability for you and your children. I also, look at all emotional support that’s provided with children and parents by having community. Having a community helps children and parents feel less lonely. You have a group of parents to reach out to and share ideas with. Children have other peers to discuss what’s on their minds and other outside adults as supporters to go to. Community helps with reducing stress, depression, and anxiety in everyone. Working with a community of people helps you keep your energy. When you think of all the running around we do as parents just imagine splitting those tasks up and sharing them how much more energy will you have? More energy increases your happy mood hormones which benefits everyone around you.
Inconclusion know that you don’t have to bear the burdens of back to school alone. Many parents are going through the same thought process as you are. Get with another parent or a group of parents and develop a plan to support each other through the process. Help one another to continue to be the awesome parents you are.