“uhhhh…Why do I have to DO this?” moaned my 6-year-old son as he melted off the desk chair, hanging sideways, arms flailed.
E-learning was fun and exciting the first day – he got to see his teacher and friends on the screen after missing them for weeks. They giggled about Legos and pets and made faces and fart noises at each other. It was cool to use the “big” computer at home to work on math games and show mom how the teacher taught virtual phonics lessons. We had whiteboards and charts and schedules and workstations.
Day two, feet were dragging, eyes were glazing over, and my enthusiastic smile was looking a little crazed.
Day three, I used bribery and withholding of screen time to get 15 minutes of reluctant concentration out of him.
After the most recent painful morning of begging and coercing my son to sit in front of the computer and feign interest in any sort of school work, I decided I needed a paradigm shift.
What was I trying to accomplish here? Shoving education down his throat? Blind compliance because I’m the authority? You will sit here and you will learn this phonics lesson because I said so!
No state literacy standards were being mastered here.
He was miserable; I was frustrated. I was snapping at him, he was crying.
“I don’t want to play school anymore!” he sobbed.
“We’re not PLAYING! This is REAL school! This is how it is now!” I yelled back.
“uhhhh…why do I have to DO this??”
There it was: that question again.
The question we are all asking as we stare out our windows, suit up for our essential jobs, log in to yet another frustrating Zoom meeting, miss our friends and families, go to bed exhausted after giving everything we had once again:
“Why do we have to DO this?”
There is, of course, no one to answer this question.
We do this because we have to right now; because this is what our current reality calls for; because we must keep going.
And we allow ourselves some whining and crying and frustration and anger, because sometimes life’s biggest questions are impossible to answer.
But we don’t have to be miserable.
So I have turned off “School” for a while. We spent all day hiking up a mountain. We had a squirt gun fight. We had ice cream for dinner. I left the kids alone and they watched movies and played Minecraft.
And I forgive myself for not enforcing eLearning. There will be plenty of time for “playing school” some other day.
©Vixen Lea 2020