I never let it be a secret how hard it was to send my last baby to start Kindergarten. It was a whole new territory for me. For 10 years I have had a little one home with me during the daytime. This new beginning hit me hard.
Of course I did what every other parent does. I picked myself up and pushed aside my personal feelings of entering a new stage in life. This was a new chapter, and just because it was new, didn’t make it bad. Change means growth, and it is truly a beautiful thing to watch your children grow.
My sweet Avery was more than ready for Kindergarten. He thrived in preschool and he’s just so darn smart! Yes. I do realize every parent says that about their child, but he amazes me. When he was just 3 years old he could tell you the names of the planets (and dwarf planets!) in our solar system. Since then his love for space has only continued to grow. He says he’s going to the moon someday, and I believe him!
He was soaring in Kindergarten. He loved going to his school and having his own friends. He had just gotten invited to his first ever birthday party that wasn’t for someone in our family. He couldn’t wait to show me that invite saying it was a special “surprise.”
Literally days later, none of us ever would have imagined our world to be hit with a pandemic. One day he was playing outside at recess with his friends, and the next day, there would be no school.
There were no goodbyes. There was no graduation. There were certainly no hugs.
We were thrown into an entirely new way of learning and communicating with his teacher and classmates. At first, he liked the idea of school at home. But then, things changed.
I remember the day he came up to me and said, “Mommy, I’m just sad and I don’t know why.” My heart broke into a thousand pieces for him. Adults can hardly understand a pandemic. How the heck is a 6 year old supposed to? Of course I just scooped him up into my arms and told him how much I loved him.
Explaining the Coronavirus to a child is hard. I think no matter what you say, it’s still difficult for them to truly grasp it. We try to not make a big deal of things, but he knows things just aren’t right. We are a busy family and are always on-the-go. We travel quite frequently. We weren’t going anywhere. I had to cancel two different Disney trips.
My mom, who lives with us, is out of work because my dad is immunocompromised. While Avery loves having his “Goosey” home, it’s still not his normal. He realized he hadn’t seen his other set of grandparents in a very long time. How is he expected to understand that traveling just one state over to see people he loves is dangerous?
Then he said it. The other day he screamed out in frustration, “I HATE SCHOOL!!”
It shocked me a bit, because all Kindergartners should LOVE school! So I asked him “why?” He corrected himself and said, “I hate school at home. I miss my school. I miss my friends and my teachers.”
I told him I missed his school too, and that it’s okay to feel how he’s feeling. I told him it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be angry. Then I told him things would change. It won’t be like this forever, and there are a lot of other things to be happy about.
While none of us know what school will look like in the Fall, I can only hope it will be better and safer. And for now, I need to shine that little bit of positivity in front of him.
But what about Kindergarten? How does it end? How can we make up the time that was missed inside of the classroom? Does his class just jump into First Grade in the Fall with a brand new teacher and set of classmates? Won’t that be confusing? There really isn’t any closure. How are these little kids supposed to understand? They all deserve better.
Kindergarten is such an important piece of a child’s education. It’s nurturing and a vital start to school. I feel like these kids are really missing out on this piece of their childhood, and it hurts my heart.
Homeschooling has always intrigued me. But this isn’t homeschooling. This is schooling during a crisis. During a worldwide pandemic. You cannot compare what we’re doing to homeschooling.
While it’s hard to say where we will be this Fall, I’m being as optimistic as I can for my children. I will be exploring all available options as to what is best for each of my kids. I don’t ever want to hear my little boy say, “I hate school” again. So for now, we’ll be having ourselves a fun-filled summer at home. No traveling. No fun summer camps. No sports. But we’re all healthy and together. This summer will still be magical for my boys. I hope it’s one that will fill their hearts with happy memories.