Here’s to You

Here’s to You

As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, a memory from one year ago popped up. It was an introduction to my newest post entitled Welcoming in the New Year that I had written January 07, 2020. Truth be told, I couldn’t remember what I had written, as it had been one year ago. And, lets face it, 2020 was a year like NO other. So, I visited the memory and got caught up reading my words of [attempted] enlightenment. I had a good chuckle to myself… the year 2020 not only wreaked havoc on my New Year’s wishes, but also ran parallels, as though existing in an alternate universe. I thought it would be great fun to write about the comparisons….

However, it’s just not where my post is going today. As I began to write, I kept getting interrupted. Mom! How do you spell posters? Mom! I have to use the washroom. Mom! Where is my yellow writing book. Mom! I need water please. Mom! It’s recess, lets have a lightsaber fight. Mom! How do you spell reason? Mom! What happened, my video is gone!? Mom! Mom!? Can you sit in my room, I’m lonely. Mom! It’s lunchtime. Mom! Where is the video link? Mom! My teacher isn’t there. Mom! Mom!? ….

Remote learning. It is a blessing as well as a curse. So, instead of penning a post of enlightenment, reflecting upon the parallels and alternate universe, and making remarkable comparisons of how I had planned my year 2020 to go, versus how it actually went, I am giving in, and I shall instead blog about remote learning. I will try to write my prolific post another time and simply write about the truth of what is happening here in my home. That is, if I can get one thought expressed before another interruption occurs.

So… how many moms and dads out there are gently bashing their head against their desk/table/wall in frustration over remote learning? The interruptions. The dropped video calls. The sharing of space/equipment/time. Are there any parents getting their own work completed while kids are busy learning from home? And what of those moms and dads who are trying to teach their own classes while assisting their own children during remote learning? Are you coping? It’s challenging, complicated, and frustrating. For everyone involved.

But it is necessary.

We are in the midst of a second wave. Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise all across Canada, but, here in Ontario, the number of new cases are nearing 4000 per day. For that reason, we are back in a lockdown. Schools are closed. Children must learn from home. Isolation Part Two. We are only into week two of transitioning from in-person learning to remote learning and I already feel like I’m going to lose my mind! I hope it will get easier. I know it is safer.

I realize that I have it easier than some. I do not work during the day, which means I am available to help my son with any challenge he faces with remote learning – but – it also means that I really don’t get anything done for myself. Once I set Liam up for his day of remote learning I tidy up the house to free-up my workspace, and then I sit down to do my research and my writing, only to be interrupted. A lot. I lose my concentration. I lose my focus. My work is left incomplete. This happens everyday, throughout the day. And the work I am doing, although unpaid, is important to me. It’s my writing. They are projects dear to my heart and I hope, one day, to publish one. Yet, I cannot seem to complete it in a timely fashion or even complete it at all! Does this happen to you, moms and dads? Do you find yourself struggling to stay on track with your work as your child struggles to stay on track with remote learning? Are you also being called away from your work, having to completely shift your focus and think of answers to simple spelling, math, mapping, social studies, etc. and so forth? I do encourage my son to ask his teacher for help. She is there, on the video call, instructing the class and ready to assist. But my son feels intimidated, almost too shy to ask for help. He believes that he is the only one struggling with the work, and I think he believes that because there is still a sense of isolation with remote learning. He is alone, in his room, at his table, trying to follow along with the lesson as he stares at multiple video chat screens, and getting lost and overwhelmed in the process. It is a lot to demand from a 7 year old.

I get it. I get that this is isolating. I too sit at my table, struggling with words, to form sentences, to convey my thoughts into paragraphs that eventually form a story. I fight through fatigue, self-doubt, and writer’s block. The difference is that I enjoy working on my own, alone, and isolated, but I am creating, not learning. Learning remotely over video is not familiar – listening to constant chatter, and trying to focus on the task at hand only to feel that you are falling behind or missing the concept being taught. I cannot imagine how challenging that is, yet that is Liam’s reality with remote learning. No wonder he feels how he feels – lost, alone, doubtful, and frustrated.

We have to remember that remote learning is unfamiliar, challenging, and often intimidating. Yet here we are plugging along for the benefit of all. Yet, is it beneficial? I am hoping it is, but I am undecided. It’s almost like we’ve travelled back to the spring of 2020 when children were abruptly denied the opportunity to attend school, for their safety and the safety of educators. They struggled with the loss of routine, friendships, and community, just as they are now. The only difference this time, is that children can see each other as they work from home. They can see their teacher; and their teacher guides the class. That is encouraging. Liam is happy to see his classmates and friends, as well as his teachers. He thrives on the connection, but he finds that accomplishing the school work is difficult. The instruction somehow gets lost on him, even though I can hear how thorough his teacher is with her explanations, and how much guidance she is giving her students. She is working hard to connect with them. But some kids need to learn in the classroom, not from the home, and Liam is one of those kids.

And so, today has been one of those difficult days. He is overtired, frustrated, clingy, teary-eyed, and argumentative. So I give in. I just don’t have the energy to fight through this and complete what I wanted for myself today. Today is just one of those days. Even blogging about remote learning has taken me the entire day and into the evening, with multiple interruptions, broken thought patterns, kept busy taming temperaments and soothing tears. I can’t even think straight as I struggle to write this post. Ugh.

So moms and dads? How about you? Do you sometimes just give in? Is the remote learning dominating your waking hours and disrupting sleep? Are you struggling to accomplish your personal tasks as you help your own kids through this transition?

Sometimes it’s okay to give in. I had no intention of blogging about remote learning, but here I am, busy blogging about the challenges and hoping that I am making sense as I continually get pulled away from the words, thoughts, and writing. It is the truth of what I’m dealing with in my world right now. It’s what dominates our lives at present. This adjustment is challenging for us all. And of course I think I am failing miserably at supporting my son while I also try to support myself. Am I helping or hindering? Am I giving him the independence to learn on his own or smothering? Am I providing the support or am I too stern? Doubts. I have so many doubts. I doubt it all right now because just when I think I’ve got it right, the mood shifts and I’m dealing with a whole new breadth of emotion.

I think all I can do is give him extra hugs and extra cuddles; and let him know that he is safe. What more can I do but give him comfort?

As for me? I’m going to give up for today and try again tomorrow, with the hopes of completing some work. For now, I’ll just enjoy my glass of wine…

And so here’s to you, moms and dads all around. Here’s to your efforts and the sacrifices you make. Here’s to your struggles with remote learning. Here’s to your selfless love bestowed upon your children. I raise my glass to you.

Published by Crystal Joy Hall

Featured Image: Kampus Production

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