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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us differently. Between the great toilet paper hoarding disaster of 2020, local businesses shutting down, forgetting how to socialize, working from home (or not working at all), and canceled travel plans; life as we knew it came to a screeching halt with seemingly no sign of normality on the horizon.
Among those that have been deeply impacted by this global disaster are children. Not only have they been robbed of a fundamental year of their lives, but they've been asked to start learning outside the classroom — something many have struggled with.
Parents and kids alike have been forced to adapt during these trying times, which is what inspired mom and writer, Christine Derengowski, to take to Facebook to flesh out her concerns over remote learning.
She began by explaining that her seven-year-old son, who's been enrolled in online schooling, had been feeling the pressure of completing assignments under such unconventional learning conditions.
"I’ve lost a year with my kids battling over school and I’m done," Derengowski wrote. "My seven-year-old and I were in the midst of our usual asynchronous day battle. I had his writing homework in my hand from school. He’d written several full, well-thought-out sentences. But he won’t do the same for me, at least not without a fight.
"I told him he didn’t have to write about his best day like his teacher asked, he could write about his worst. He could write about whatever he wanted as long as he wrote a few sentences," she continued. "He said he’d get in trouble. He said he was doing a bad job in first grade. He was on the brink of tears but didn’t know why. And it hit me. Instead of getting frustrated and pushing the assignment, I sat down with him at his desk in his superhero bedroom."
Derengowski offered her son some context to the uniqueness of his schooling situation, by reminding him that no child had ever had to learn virtually from home due to a global pandemic.
"I said, 'Do you know that no kids in the history of kids have ever had to do what you’re doing right now? No kids in the history of kids have ever had to do school at home, sitting in their bedroom, watching their teacher on a computer. You and your friends are making history,'" she went on. "I apologized for not saying it sooner and more often. We’ve thanked everyone from healthcare workers to grocery store employees but we haven’t thanked the kids enough for bearing the burden of what we’ve put on their shoulders this year. We’ve said kids are resilient, and they are. But they are the real superheroes in this whole scenario for having zero say in their lives but doing their best to adjust every day."
Derengowski said she and her son spent the rest of the day playing in an effort to reclaim their living space that had turned into a classroom
"We closed his school-issued laptop and spent the rest of the day playing. This was supposed to be temporary and here we are a year later still trying to hold our head above water. This is our home and I won’t turn it into a battle ground anymore over something we can’t control. Something that no longer makes sense."
Naturally, countless parents who stumbled upon this post were able to relate to Derengowski's thoughtful message and applauded her for speaking up.
"Thank you for your compassion and insight. School age kids, educators and parents have been asked to do something incredibly difficult and foreign to them. Making the decision between keeping them safe and making sure they still have rich experiential learning opportunities is an incredible challenge, that no one was prepared for! After you give your child that hug, give yourself a pat on the back too," one person commented.
"I love this more than I can say! My grandkids in Washington state have been in front of the computer since last March trying their best to learn. This is what we all need to hear! Thank you!," wrote another.
"As a teacher, thank you for closing the laptop and playing instead. Thank you, thank you. They are doing amazing and I'm proud of my kids, my students, and your son," someone else chimed in.