Flags everywhere

They are everywhere. 

Flags everywhere. 

Right in our backyard. First sight of the day. In our happy place where only sights of sunsets, fishing rods, and bobbing sailboats were before,  now have waving statements of division.

TRUMP 2020

And you can feel it in the air.

It is as if someone drew a line in the sand. Our community which was just fisherman and sailors has a new aura in the air. Most of us are unanimous,  boating shouldn’t be political. There should be a no flag policy. But how can you ignore something right in your face in your backyard?

We know that freedom of speech is a basic human right, but what happens now? 

Are we supposed to put up a flag? Is this how it works? Do we show our support of decency and morality? Do we have to start waving flags? 

I do have one at home in NYC. It recently needed an addition:)

But of course, we would never put this flag up beyond our living room. Because what does that do? What would that do, beyond create animosity? Making the air contentious. 

But the real reason is we are scared… scared of the other side. The Trump boats don’t wear masks. They party all day and night with huge crowds as if to make a point as they walk down our dock. Mocking our masks. Mocking what I call our patriotism. 

AND there is a new Trump flag that is becoming more and more popular along our shores. This flag takes the Trump logo (which is red white and blue) and takes out the blue. Only red and white. The message is clear, this is no blue in OUR country.

And I have chills. It is a message of division and not one of uniting. And they wear it so proudly. And us and our friends, the other side (just sit) too scared to say anything or even fly a flag and we are sure we outnumber them. 

We are backed into a corner, but there are other ways to fight and save our country to be one of Red White and BLUE.

VOTE & SUPPORT

https://act.joebiden.com/BVFraiser?attr=104098979

Therapy Dropout

To the theme of beauty school dropout.

Therapy dropout,

(Therapy  dropout)

Got no time for that talk.

Therapy dropout

(Therapy dropout)

Can we do this while I walk?!

While I know this is good to do

Who has that time?

I just want to pop a pill

And go back to my child’s side.

I can just ignore it

(Just ignore it)

Everything is okay

I can just forget it,

(Forget it)

Keep moving and life’s a breeze…

Now I know that there is stuff to say,

A lot to process too,

But can someone tell me how,

With no kids in camp or school!

Therapy drop out.

———————–

I wish I could say it was the first time I’ve dropped out and from the stats know I am not alone on this. Are you part of the therapy drop out club too?!

Not proud of it, but the reality of work and life makes no time for EMDR. I do hope to return in September. Sorry to all who have asked for more info…not much to give, I keep canceling it!

COVID rubric

I believe COVID should be treated as a learning/ psychological disability. It should be classified in the DSM. It will eclipse any disorder. It will be the largest disability in the world.  Take that anxiety! Or is this a sub category of anxiety? Hmmm…I will leave that to the professionals to figure out.

But let’s just all agree, we are fragile right now and we need each other more than ever.

And just like most disabilities it’s a spectrum. From Autism to learning disorders like dyslexia there is a spectrum and COVID is no different.

I have yet to meet one person with the same COVID goggles on. Everyone creating their own new realities with their own made up rules.  And the same rule can feel arbitrary and ridiculous to one person, while deadly to another.

I have friends who have not left their houses to this day. I have friends getting their nails done snacking at the same time, masks down, face out in all of its glory. There are friends ready to launch their kids back into physical school while others recoil at the thought and can’t fathom how others can. 

But I beg that like with a learning disorder we don’t judge. We respect the spectrum even the ones that make us angry and we think are causing the problem, because communication really matters and people lie if they feel they will be judged.  And that is deadly. Lack of trust is deadly. It will kill lives and it will kill community, the thing we need most.

So I think we need a code. I’ve been researching rubrics. Here is one I would like to share to help others navigate these waters with their friends and family members. Please share if you have a better one! I’m looking for resources to help families who are forming pods navigate these tough conversations.

Relative for them too

Turns out it is all relative for them too.

Kids also measure their life by relativity. Often using their closest control, a sibling. 

Today I messed up. Or rather I broke his trust. I never surprise Jacob with his day. He is always aware of what will happen to him. “First you will get your port accessed…,” but the rules keep changing due to Covid and I made one the rookie mistake.

I made a promise. 

Remember cancer mom. Never do that. Expect the unexpected as everything is “to be expected.”

After Jacob’s last immunotherapy round I promised him that he wouldn’t have a COVID test for a long time. But today…surprise COVID test. He needs it prior to going into surgery tomorrow.

This surprise did not go well.

And again I do this alone. I do this alone as he screams. I do this alone as he begs in a hysterical voice not to hold him down against his will. And I hear his cry of relativity. 

Why me? Why am I getting this test? Is Benno getting this test? Is he? I won’t do it until he gets it! Benno has to get four to be equal. When mom? When mom? When is Benno getting a Covid test?!

It took 30mins to get this test done and sadly three nurses who he kicked and swatted at. In the end, I broke his trust again, I had to hold him down against his will. 

He won’t let me touch him now, which is the worst part. Punishing me for breaking his trust.

And now he sits in a tube for 2hours after yesterday being strapped in for an hour with a cage over his head.

And he is not alone in his idea of injustice, Benno too is having quite the week of anger. He feels that no one cares about him. That he doesn’t get the presents that Jacob gets. That we owe him $500 in damages of presents never received. How life is so unfair to him. How everything is about Jacob.

But yet he doesn’t understand that for Jacob everything is about Benno. How their relativity is at play. How each feels the other is dealt the best hand. How they define themselves by each other.

But there is one thing they both agree on, it’s my fault. 

That they are unanimous about.

The date

The date did happen.

He made sure of that. He even threatened to take away my flowers if I did not show up on time and like his father he aimed to impress. 

As we walked up to our spot, Jacob turned to me and said, “We’ve got the best seat in the house.” Where he learns these one liners is anyone’s guest, but best bet is TV.

And yes we did. The best seat in the house. My view, in particular, was pretty incredible.

He inquired what people on dates talk about. I told them about the weather, about what they did today, and sometimes they give compliments. Oh and snuggling! Lots of that. To which he responded “Perfect! I’m an expert snuggler!”

But, then, out of nowhere another man entered the picture. He tried to crash our date. 

Jacob was having none of that and escorted him from the table. This was a table for two…ahem. Luckily it didn’t have to get physical, however the man left annoyed. It was clear this man does not stand often.

We laughed about that for a while. How Jacob had to defend his lady.

And we wined and dined until he saw kids playing in a field and wanted in on that. POOF gone. Typical. Men. So flighty they are.

The world has special plans for this man though. That it does. The road was a strange one. His path was not even one of the two forks in the road, but a hidden one, a third fork. Watch out ladies this one is a heart breaker!

THE SOLUTION!!

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.

Nope.

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…

www.getschoolhouse.com

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. 

WIN: Me.

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!

WIN: Teachers!

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:)

y + (c – z)^t = No one knows!

Educators are working nights and days on equations. 

While, some of us teach math, never have such equations come across our work tables. And to add insult to injury, as we study this lengthy equation, the numbers keep changing. Not even the quadratic equation can save us.  But like the diligence we instill in our students, we keep plugging and chugging. 

Plugging and Chugging. Plugging and chugging away.

As people depend on us. Without our solution many can’t work and all are affected. Many families don’t just need school to teach their children, but also to them to  FEED them. Many parents don’t just need childcare, but a safe place for their child to find refuge during the day and getting socialization he so needs. Schools are more than a place of learning, but also a home away form home. 

But when do the math teachers start speaking up? 

When do we realize that the equation is not balanced and is unsolvable? Too many unknown variables. And to pretend we have an estimate is breaking the trust that families have in schools, supposively there to serve and keep your children safe. And instead of bringing answers, we are bringing more confusion to our faculty and parents alike.

Teachers are walking into the school year unsure of where and what they will even be teaching. Not only is the anxiety about health high, but teachers are feeling unprepared. Teachers that once taught library are teaching science. Teachers that taught music are now teaching math in attempt to solve the smaller class sizes, which requires more teachers. But is this new in-person going to be better than distant? Are teachers easily and effectively repurposed? I question the quality all together. I question the integrity of these plans. 

So instead of trying to solve an unsolvable equation, let’s solve the real issue, CHILDCARE & ESSENTIAL SERVICES. Let’s as a country focus on that. Instead of driving everyone crazy!

Or let’s think outside the school box…I have some ideas!