What should I do this fall?

I swear I hear you. I promise to get your emails.

So let me just respond to all of the emails here. It will be easier since they are all along the same theme.

What should I do this fall with school if I KNOW distant learning is not working for my child?  is the general theme.

It should be noted that each of your situations is different, but here are my general opinions.

For children 2-4: 

Distant learning at this age is near to impossible because let’s be clear the most important part of the Early Learning years is hands on exploratory learning AND socialization!! The only reason we send kids to school this young is for socialization and CHILDCARE. Whenever anyone asks me “What is the best nursery/pre-K school in the city?” I always have the same response. THE CLOSEST ONE. At those ages, convenience reigns supreme. Especially today when your commute may be the most dangerous part of your child’s day using mass transit.

Pre-K and nursery are not necessary necessary. Of course they are SO INCREDIBLE during normal times. Your child finds their first sense of self outside of the home. They learn to respect others. But right now…take a deep breath. If distant learning is not working, Your kid will not become a “school drop out” I promise.

Remember that Pre-K didn’t even exist before 1965 and never really took off until the 80’s. It is true that there are very strong correlations between Pre-K programs and later literacy skills (as you see with the Pre-K for all movement), but as long as you are reading to your child and talking to them and provide “social like” experiences with adult guidance, you too can be an early learning center. 

So if finances have changed or your little one refuses to do distant learning, do not feel like a failure if you pull your child for a year. You are BLESSED! Young kids are SO resilient. The younger the more resilient They will be FINE. 

AND there are LOADS of free resources at your disposal. If you have a Pre-K child, enroll them in public school so you get all the free resources! Distant learning from the DOE is not that much different than the private sector (currently!). 

Do online music classes. Do online craft classes. All of this exist and a lot of it for free.

NOTE: This will not be easy. I know I’m making it sound that way. It will be what you are doing now. I know…ugh.

That’s why I HIGHLY recommend you form micro-communities as the most important learning is socialization. Find 3 families your child’s age and poof! You got yourself a school. You can take turns hosting it too so you have downtime yourself.

And just so I can answer this once and for all. 

  • Yes, I agree with you that 50-60K is not okay for distant learning. But you need to understand that schools were not equipped for this change and have HUGE overheads to deal with. I’m not quite sure how and if they will change their tuition. Please know that your school is TRYING and hears you…oh boy do they hear you, but they too are victims.
  • Yes, I do think there will be distant learning this fall and you should plan for that.

Elementary Students:

This is a tough one for me to answer because every family is so different as I picture all of you in my head. If you are talking about a Kindergartener, you can look above for a lot of you and all of the learning outcomes expected are clear. You can use the common core to make sure you hit them. Here is a link to a common core map that can fit on your fridge even. This link can also take you to all the activities to support those learning outcomes by teachers!

But for the rest (G1-G5), you should probably keep your current school and distant learning plan just because it is your child’s community. That is where their friends are. That’s where your friends are too. You will need a community!

Over the summer schools will have a time to reset too. I’m sure you have already seen such growth in your school from the start of distant learning to now. Schools have been learning on the GO. The summer will be a great time for teachers to start thinking AHEAD.

Now for those of you who have financial difficulties that have been paying for private school are under a lot of stress. And maybe those funds are needed for other purposes now.  Pulling for a year and enrolling your child in public school is NOT the end of the world. The public sector has been VERY impressive. When your school had “spring break” at the beginning of the pandemic, the public system was in session. They went from in-person to online within a span of a weekend. While many private schools couldn’t get there stuff together at all. And when you take away the fancy food program, facilities, security, etc, and are left with distant learning…you don’t see many differences. It is actually quite beautiful the democratization happening right now in education. Public and private both using google classroom. Both having the same tools. 

Will I get back in to my school if I pull for a year?! Basic economics says YES to me, but honestly, I don’t know each school’s position so don’t quote me on that one.  Common sense tells us that every school will have spots in every grade open for the next few years. The predicted exodus out of cities will drive that especially in the finance sector where people are working distantly and wondering why they ever paid NYC rent. I don’t know about you, but the number one question I get is “are you returning to the city?!” An unfathomable question a year ago is now the hot topic. I believe getting into private schools will be easier.

MIDDLE/ UPPER:

Distant learning does work better with these grades. I would STICK. Peers are EVERYTHING at this age. They need to be tied to them.

CLASS of 2020+

You are my days and nights. I am most concerned about you. BUT I’ve been working overtime here and soon Mind the Gap will be accepting applications for the fall semester. This is the BEST work I’ve ever done and have never felt more passionate about its need. It will do SUCH good.

 I will write about it soon. Just too busy over here making it happen. 

And then the final question that I get daily? WILL YOU OPEN A DISTANT LEARNING PROGRAM THIS FALL (for ELC and elementary students). 

Sadly, my heart is elsewhere. I truly KNOW your kids will be fine. This will be a blip in their education narrative. There are millions of young adults who have no options come fall. Distant learning in college is NOT an option in my opinion. College (as it is currently designed) is about human to human interaction, parties, learning to drink, living in a dorm, etc. Paying 50K for distant learning in college is NOT acceptable especially when before all of this the price of your degree is less than its market value. 

It’s time to NOT rush to grow up. It is time to BREATH. 

Get LIFE READY this fall with MIND THE GAP.

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