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April Jeppson: Lessons learned from the first week of school

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

 

We made it!

Whether you chose to homeschool, distance learn or send your kids back into the buildings, we made it through the first week of school! (Insert happy, yet tired dance)

April Jeppson

I’m currently sending my children back into “traditional” school. For elementary that means Monday through Thursday full day in the building and Fridays distance learning. For middle school and high school it means two days (which are four hours long), of in-class study with the other three days distance.

So here’s my day one of school scenario.

8:02 a.m.: I’m at work doing the happy dance (I dance a lot) because I just nailed the first day of school dropoff. We remembered everything we were supposed to bring and we were on time.

9 a.m.: I drop my son off at middle school and try to hold back tears because he’s in middle school!

11:06 a.m.: Leave to go pick up my kids from elementary school because they have an impromptu early out. (Heat advisory all week and they ended up getting out early.)

1:30 a.m.: Leave work again to walk down the street to meet my son after his first full day of school.

At this point it is what it is. However I have taken away a few golden nuggets of wisdom from this peculiar first week of school that I’d like to share with you.

I am incredibly thankful for my job. Not only was my supervisor completely understanding of the situation, but my place of business is perfect, too. We offer afterschool care for kids. So while I’m working, my kids are down the hall or at the park playing. The building is close enough to my son’s school that he can actually walk there after his four hours of learning are up. It really is a good setup.

The next thing I learned this week is that I’m thankful that I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of person. Sure, there are things that get me fired up. But for the most part, I’m only fired up for a short period of time, then I move on. I’m also generally not phased by change. Once again, I might have five minutes of “What the heck am I supposed to do?,” but I get over it pretty quick. I have learned that most everything (especially the silly day-to-day stuff that stresses most people out) will work itself out in the end. No need to ruin a perfectly good day with worrying.

The final thing that I’ve learned time and time again is simple. So simple that it used to be common sense. Everyone used to be in agreement on this one. I’m not sure why it changed, and I’d be open to have someone explain to me the logic of why we moved away from it. School should start after Labor Day. If you’re in the camp that thinks it needs to start mid-August, let me take a moment to explain my point.

I’m from northern Minnesota. The lakes don’t get warm enough to swim in until about mid-June. They stay warm through July and August. Starting school two weeks before Labor Day actually takes two weeks away from people who camp, go to cabins or the lakes. Not only taking 14 days of summer fun away, but it is also taking away the revenues that would have gone to those local businesses in the areas we all vacation in.

It was so hot during this first week of school that it was deemed necessary to shut down the elementary schools before noon — all week long. So the first full week of education turned into three hours a day of school and a ton of parents rearranging their schedules to try and accommodate early pick up and after school care. It was a cluster to say the least.

I know there’s the argument about how we need to start early because the snow days add time on to the end of the year. Well, I don’t feel like that point is valid anymore. Currently, every school in our district has at least one at-home learning day each week. We are all set up for learning from home in some capacity or another. So the next time there’s a snow day, why can’t the kids do their learning from home? Our teachers are smart, and I know they don’t want to be in school past Memorial Day either, so I’m sure with a little planning, we could make this work.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.