My family’s struggles during stay-home orders

Most days, I try to focus on the good moments; the sleeping in, the hours of free time to cook, the numerous driveway basketball games and the occasional family walk.

But today, no one happened to be using the computer, so I decided to be real and raw and share what my family is struggling with. 

I’ll begin with my college boys:

My oldest is trying to complete 16 credit hours at Boise State, all online. Some teachers have reduced the workload, while other teachers expect their students to learn at the same capacity. His American Sign Language class has been especially challenging, without the classroom environment. His weekdays are filled with stressful online learning and on the weekends he works part-time at the hospital, knowing that every shift significantly increases his health risk. 

My next oldest is struggling financially. When his college campus closed, he moved home. He was working a minimum wage job, until a fellow employee’s family member tested positive. Two weeks later, his brother (my oldest) was sent home from work for being symptomatic. Due to his proximity to potential cases, he has not been able to work. Unfortunately, he still owes three more months of rent, for an apartment he does not and will not live in. His landlord is constantly calling and asking if he has received his stimulus money, so he can pay rent. Unfortunately, my college kids have not gotten any stimulus money and there’s a good chance college students won’t get any money.

Next, my high school kids:

My senior has been going through a wave of emotions. He hasn’t been able to make a decision about college in the fall (will it all be online, should he stay close to home, will he be able to get a job to pay for tuition? etc.). His senior prom was canceled and he knows the chances of having a real graduation are slim to none. He spends hours every day working on his remaining concurrent credit classes, knowing he can choose a pass/fail grade at the end of the semester. Some days he smiles and jokes with everyone, and other days he wants to stay in his room all day. 

My sophomore spent the last few weeks redoing assignments to bring her grades up to a 4.0 GPA. Now that her grades are all A’s, she has no reason to do any more school work. Nothing she does can improve her grades, or worsen them. She has an upcoming AP biology test, so she spends a few hours everyday studying for that. She already set up Zoom meetings with school and college counselors to map out her remaining high school classes. Her self motivation has been crucial because I’m not capable of keeping up with each one of my kids’ educational needs (I’m focusing on their physical and emotional needs).     

My middle school kids:

My eighth grader is so … Very. Bored. Every Monday we walk to the nearby school to pick up his packet of school work and come home and organize the papers by subject. He prefers to work on one subject a day and complete the week’s assignments. I try to block off two hours a day for school, but it usually doesn’t take him that long. His work isn’t stellar, but he knows it doesn’t matter. Most of his teachers don’t require, or even ask for, the assignments to be submitted. I would love it if he spent 20 minutes a day reading, but we don’t have any books at his level or access to a public library.

My sixth grader loves school. She loves being social, talking to her friends and playing sports. This quarantine is driving her (and by association, the whole family) crazy. She wants to understand every lesson and complete every assignment, but no one in our house happens to know a lot about the history of Athens or how the ocean currents affect climate. Her two hours of school almost always require an available teacher/tutor. I do my best and sometimes her older siblings try to help, but most of the time they ask her why she even cares about school.  

And finally, my second grader:

Her school packet is beautifully detailed. There is a suggested schedule that mirrors the schedule the school used, but we haven’t even tried to follow it. Most days we pick a few papers for her to work on, but she gets burnt out quickly. Her little mind is constantly trying to grasp what is happening in the world and focusing on learning has been overwhelming. 

When I tucked her into bed last night, she looked up and said, “I really miss my teacher and all my friends. When will this be over?” 

I wish I knew.  

Someone needs my computer, so I guess I’ll go make a lasagna.


Melanie Flake

Melanie Flake

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