I know I said that I am spending the rest of my career focusing on the crisis in higher education, but I had a real K-12 crisis right here in my own house that needed to be solved.
So I had to jump back in.
Hello K-12, I’m back!
Here was the crisis (it may feel very familiar to many of you!):
We are a dual working household. And when planning for the fall, every option for schooling left a grim reality, me leaving my job. I know I am not alone here. We all remember the Spring, we are informed in how this Covid world goes. We all remember trying to keep on top of our child’s zoom calls, entertaining our children after they completed the math worksheet that said should take an hour in three minutes, while also having your REAL job to do.
It was not difficult.
It was impossible.
Again, an equation that was unsolvable.
So I had some thinking to do. First was to do some market research. What options out there existed?
Option 1: Homeschool
Clear NO. Even though I am a teacher and have taught both grades that my children are going into, this is still a clear no. NO ONE can teach their own kids without going mentally insane. Pass.
Options 2: Local public school or private school (hybrid model/ in person)
The health concerns are VERY real. I truly think schools will be super spreaders as we have seen the results in countries like Israel. The kids may not get sick, but the adults around them can. I also believe social distancing is impossible. And am I the only one who can’t hear anyone when they talk through a mask?! I can’t imagine Jacob (with hearing issues) understanding the teacher.
But health aside, this solution still does not solve my problem.
Hybrid models won’t allow me to make my Tuesday call at 1:30PM as every other Tuesday my child would be out of school. My job is not on a hybrid model. This is not a match.
And even if they went full day, this option does not give the stability and security that I need to do my job well. At any minute one of my children’s pods can be required to quarantine. This means on any day, my children will be sent home and have to stay home for 14 days. And you know who will have to be home too…mama.
Traditional school options, OUT.
Option 3: Distant Learning
Ugh. I think we all know one thing after this Spring, teachers are ESSENTIAL especially for ELC/ Lower School children. Distant learning is not the same experience and socialization is so important. This is not the education I dream for my children. As an educator, this was a no. And I refused to go back to the Spring experience where I attempted to fill the teacher void.
So I was left without options. I was scratching my head until now…
I’ve joined the SchoolHouse team to bring the microschool movement to my home (and maybe yours), because this is a real solution.
I actually think it is a WIN, WIN, WIN. You know I like those:)
WIN: My children.
They will get in person instruction 5 days a week. And because pods are at most 8 students (WOW), my children will get the individual attention they both need. Benno can get the extra math support, but also, the science enrichment! No longer bogged down by scheduling issues of a school, Benno can do 5th grade science standards (even though he is in 3rd), which he is ready for. And Jacob after a year of 1:1 learning is WAY ahead in math. He can be challenged instead of being bored.
I get my life back! School is in session 5 days a week with a loving educator! I know that my children are covered with probably the best education they have ever had (small group sizes change the game) and that allows me to have a real schedule to work around. I can’t even begin to explain the anxiety that has been lifted by this decision! I am FREE. (I actually just took a sip of wine right now, cheers ladies!). Oh and I’m saving 80K (40K each) on tuition from our normal private school tuition. Could this be a WIN, WIN, WIN, WIN?! Oh now I’m just talking crazy!
This is my favorite part. Many teachers are forced out of the workplace (especially after their first baby). They struggle with work/life balance just like the rest of us. They never get to pick up their kids from school and take them to soccer. They miss all the games. Why? They are too busy with your children. This is a tough pill for many young teaching mothers to swallow, and, thus, they leave the field. We lose such talented teachers until now! SchoolHouse teachers can be paired with a group that works around all schedules, allowing teachers to not have to choose between work and home.
And the working hours of teachers have gotten out of control with regulations and new standards. Teachers just like you have their job and then “meetings.” So many meetings! Teachers are working from 6-6 (12 hour days!). At SchoolHouse the day is 5 hours! No more teacher burnout.
And I love the idea of empowering teachers. I’ve always wondered what the educational outcomes would be of a class of 8. I know for a fact they will be higher, but could never really entertain this concept as it would not work in the traditional school model. I can’t wait to see it this in action! They can cater to all the students individual interests and passions to make learning come alive.
And the last piece is the parent/ teacher relationship. When I was in the classroom I was always very close with all my families. I found it essential to my job. Parent/ Teacher partnership is the winning combination. However, this is so hard in the traditional school setting where a teacher is welcoming 20+ students in the morning and has little time to meet the parents (if they are even allowed up in the room!). I look forward to working with my teacher to create an exciting year.
So if anyone is in Westhampton and is looking for a solution this fall come join my SchoolHouse pod, I’m looking for students to join. School is OPEN:)