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My kids came home for spring break the second week of March and never went back to school. We thought it was going to be for a few weeks, maybe a month...but now it's summer and we have no idea what the new school year will look like.

I'm not going to lie: home school was terrible. I never wanted to be a teacher, and when I did sub, I avoided elementary (and especially kinder!) like the plague...ooh, that analogy is very topical, huh? 

The district threw together an at-home-learning program the best that they could, but it was not great. There were standardized activities for every student in every grade at every school, leaving very little customization for teachers to add in, but at the same time creating a lot of work for the teachers trying to set up those mandatory activities in a way that their students could understand. Some of the activities were really hard, some were really easy, and many of them seemed like busywork. In other words, very little real learning happened because of the school's activities that they sent home. 

Besides that, even if my kids could log onto the various websites and portals and apps on their own (which I could barely figure out and had to email the teachers and tech support multiple times for!), my kinder student could neither read, use a mouse, nor type. One day I spent 45 minutes trying to log into James' schoolwork website on our family desktop. When I finally got it logged in properly and sat James down for the first activity, the instructions read "Use your finger on the tablet to trace the letters and words!" Yes, my head did indeed very nearly explode. The entire app/website was designed for a TABLET and not a desktop. That day, I taught James how to use a mouse. 
To be fair, my kids did learn stuff. I taught them to play dominos and Gunnar taught them blackjack. We made maps of our rooms, our house, and our neighborhood. I taught Jack about x/y/z coordinates for coding command blocks in minecraft. We cooked and gardened and did youtube drawing lessons and wrote in our journals every day. But none of that was because of the district's "homeschool."

Thankfully, my kids' teachers were very understanding. In fact, our kinder teacher was so sweet and sincere that every time she emailed me I burst into tears. I am truly heartbroken that James didn't get to spend the rest of his kinder year with that wonderful, sweet teacher. I think that me and her were more sad about it than James! 

My kids will be fine, but that's in large part because of our incredible privilege. I'm a stay at home mom already, we have computers and tablets and high speed internet. We have plenty of books in our house and the income to buy more easily. We have abundant crafting supplies and access to food, a wonderful back yard, and family support. I recognize that this was much much worse for many other kids and families. 

In the meantime, I'm taking the summer off! We do make them do chores and silent reading in order to earn tablet time, but we're not doing a structured "school" thing like we were before. Of course, little do they know, we're secretly teaching them things all the time. For example, both of my big boys can now make their own lunches and clean up after themselves! James can strip his sheets and put clean ones on, and Jack can walk down and check the mail by himself. And there's always Catan...critical thinking, resource management, reading dice, and learning strategy.