Dear Parents of Distance Learner Who Checks Out,
I see you.
You spent last Spring fighting. Pleading. Begging. You've bought hundreds of dollars of electronic equipment, furniture and gadgets. You, yourself, have mastered Google Classroom. Finally, you gave in. Because your job and your sanity demanded it. You watched your beautiful child slip off into their own world, far away from school.
You have fought, valiantly, for a return to brick-and-mortar school. Maybe, if things could "go back to normal", your kid would too. He would slide into the kitchen again and tell you a funny story while he drinks out of the carton. She would get back into drawing and doing her nails. You could go "back" to work- which may only be on your dining room table- without worry. You could have a few minutes of respite, to care for your own sadness and fear.
I see you.
But, I would like to offer a more sustainable solution for your child. For you. For your family.
Checking out of distance learning- checking out of your life- is something that people do when they are Not Okay. And, being Not Okay is is something that happens in a person's head and heart, regardless of what is going on outside their body.
There are plenty of kids who did not check out of distance learning- did not check out of their lives- this past Spring. These kids, hopefully, will not check-out in the Fall either. These kids are not necessarily rich, or white, or from a one-kid or a twelve-kid family, or younger or tweens or teens. There is no single Magical Factor that makes it Easier for these kids. And this includes a return to a brick-and-mortar school. These kids choose learning, regardless of where or how it happens.
In fact, there is no Easy for them. They miss their friends. They miss the work. They miss the rituals of their daily school life. They fight with their parents. Fight with their siblings. They panic. They explode. They cry.
Kids who embrace distance learning and kids who check-out of distance learning face the same collection of outside stressors.
The difference is in how they, and their families, manage those stressors.
For kids who check out of distance learning... things would not be different if your child had:
a non-working parent who could sit next to them (that parent would just watch them fade, up-close and personal)
siblings/no siblings to entertain/not-distract them (these are equally balanced pros/cons that negate themselves)
teachers who are more X, Y or Z (your kid would have had these teachers in brick-and-mortar school, and she would have had the same amount of control over how to deal with it)
a more lenient or more demanding parent (your kid has the best possible parent in the world for them- you didn't suck before, you don't suck now)
friends sitting next to them, pushing them through the day (there is a difference between getting an education and having an opportunity to socialize- if your kid is checked out of learning, it won't matter who she is sitting next to)
The bottom line is: there are few, if any, changes that can be made to the outside of your child's life that will keep them happy... and subsequently, engaged in learning. The changes that must be made are on the inside... the inside of your kid's head, the inside of your head and the inside of your family. Change comes from within.
For you parents who believed that a return to brick-and-mortar school was the solution you needed to find your child's Happy again, I suggest that those four walls do not hold your solution. I suggest that you, your child and your family have the solution. You just haven't been able to uncover it, yet.
So, call me. Or call any one of us that you happen to fancy. We have your back. We know what we are doing. We know how to inspire change. We know how to help people find their Happy. It's our job. And most of us love it and do it well. You don't have to face another month of distance learning alone.