There are a lot of different activities that people might associate with the month of March. Here in New England, it’s the time of year when the weather starts to finally warm up so there are golf clubs to be dusted off, hiking gear pulled out of the closet and bicycle tires to re-inflate. Spring training is underway, the NFL has entered its free agency period and the NCAA tournament is underway. Plans are being made for summer vacations and there is cautious optimism that might actually mean going places.
One thing that I don’t usually do in March is back-to-school shopping but now that my daughter has returned to five days of week schedule of in-person learning that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. Sweatpants and pajama bottoms are fine for zoom meetings and fractions with dad but we weren’t really prepared for having to look presentable for more than two days at a time.
There’s a lot that we weren’t prepared for, a full year of habits that needed to be broken and old routines resumed. Not every school has functioned this way but for us, distance learning has mainly meant a list of lessons and assignments that we received every morning that needed to be completed by the end of the day. There were times when she needed to be online for class meetings and other times set aside for live tutoring if needed but for the most part, we were able to work at our own pace.
For us that often meant late starts, extended lunch and recess breaks and a schedule often determined as much by the weather as the clock. It was great not having to finish up creative writing or other procrastinated work after dinner tonight but a week of having to be up and out the door approximately an hour earlier than we were used to waking up has taken its toll.
It means a quiet house now, something that I need to get used to again. Nobody asking for either help or snacks every ten minutes, no nonstop humming or atrocious techno music playing in the background. I get to take longer hikes and bike rides, could start golfing again if I wanted or go back to the gym. Instead of leaving her home for a few minutes while I run to the store around the corner, I can do my shopping at the cheaper grocery across town. Mid-morning naps are a thing again.
It means I can move one of these chairs back into the other room, that the computer can go back to being used for Facebook and Spotify, not history and geometry. For the past few months, she’s been back on Mondays and Tuesdays with a reduced class size but for most of the past year, this has been school.
It’s important that she goes back for real and that life begins to return to some semblance of normalcy. Its hard to justify looking for a silver lining in a situation that has caused so much death and disruption.
That being said, I think we are going to miss this part of it a little bit.