We’re moving; our third grader isn’t happy

Tears filled her eyes as our third grader contemplated moving to a new town.

New school, new peers, new teacher. Another big changeup for Parlie during a pandemic.

My wife, Nicki, and I have only hinted at a possible move. We haven’t told Parlie or her two younger sisters that we’re purchasing a home in a nearby town. Estimated closing date: Dec. 14.

Parlie gave me the death glare when I first floated the prospect of a move months ago. It’s understandable. The school year has been hard enough for the girls, from “homeschooling” with Mom and Dad to back-and-forths between in-person, remote and hybrid learning … to less time with friends.

“It’s all your fault,” she told me through tears after a rough day.

As if things weren’t already complicated enough, we sold our house in August and moved into a temporary place across town to peruse a seller’s market. The girls miss the old neighborhood, but we’ve been driving them almost 10 miles everyday so they didn’t have to change schools. Nicki insisted on driving them when we sold the house. She knew we may find a permanent place out of town, and switching schools once in a school year would be hard enough. 

Fair enough.

We finally settled into a routine last week — nearly three months into the school year.

Things have gotten better, but Parlie’s tears over adjusting to a new school during a pandemic struck me.

I wanted to know more about how she was holding up. We sat down together Friday and I learned a few things:

  • Her teacher’s been a big help.
  • She thrives on routine and needs her friends.
  • She’s still bent up about the prospect of moving.

Our conversation:

What’s been different this school year? 

They kept changing the schedule. It was hard knowing what day we were going. One day we’d get up early and the next sleep in. One week you’d have a five-day weekend, then a normal weekend.

Are you doing OK in class? 

Things haven’t been that different in class. We only have to wear masks if we’re close together. Now that we’re on high risk, we wear them more, except for things like PE, music and keyboarding. Oh, and in the library.

I’m not that scared of getting corona(virus), Dad. It’s more adults and old people who get it. I think if I got it it would be more body aches and a cough. I think. Right?

What’s been the hardest part about the past few months?

Social distancing at PE, we have to separate. So nothing’s been that difficult.

We also have to get up way early because we live further away from the school now. When we lived at our old house, we could walk to school and sleep longer. Now, Nayvie (our kindergartner) goes too, so it’s more work for Mom to get everyone ready.

So probably moving was the hardest.

Dad, we aren’t moving again, are we?

How’s your schoolwork going?  

It’s different because our teacher would work very fast getting four days of work into two days. It hasn’t been harder, just faster. Some kids would have to stay in for recess to do their work when we only had two days at school. Mom makes sure we do our homework, so I still got to play outside.

How are things with your friends? 

Good. It hasn’t been too bad because most of my friends were in my group (when their class split).

What’s helped you the most?

My teacher, Ms. Folsom, because she’s patient and not one of those mean teachers. She’s funny and lets us have brain breaks when we have long math lessons.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He is a 2019 Solutions Journalism Network fellow and the Idaho Press Club's 2019 print reporter of the year. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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