Saying goodbye to 2nd grade
I’m sitting on my deck as I write this. I’m only half watching Hank as he is playing with a water gun, “not” getting me wet. We’re alone out here, his brother and dad are inside playing a card game. We get a lot of moments like this, him and I. I love them. We talk about nothing, or everything. He makes up games that he takes me through like a storyteller – oftentimes we work together to defeat a larger monster. He tells me what the dog is thinking – she thinks a lot about food and love and bunnies. I really enjoy listening to his voice and the content he shares. He’s interesting and entertaining.
I usually use these times to float topics that I need to discuss with him so that he isn’t distracted by his brother’s responses. Today, I broached the topic of school in the fall.
I asked him about what he thinks about going back into an actual classroom in the fall. He was not excited. I mentioned that he and his brother may be staying home for school again and that if he does, he’ll have to take it as seriously as he does when he is sitting in his classroom. We discussed that what I would be helping teach him would be new information and important to learn for his growth and to be “on track” with the others his age.
He understood that he would need to be serious with me and that it wouldn’t be like it was for the end of the last school year, that he would need to actually complete his work with the thoughts that it is going to be graded. He understood that he was going to have a new real teacher, but that he may not get to meet his new teacher in person. His introductions would be through web videos. I was a little surprised of his reaction to this. He said that he didn’t want to get a new teacher yet. He didn’t feel like he was done with last year’s teachers. He wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
That is a universal trend, from what I have learned from my friends. Their kids understood that they would have an awkward and stunted school year and then a summer vacation that may be different than the ones that they have encountered before. But that they were not going back to those same classrooms or teachers has been hard to grasp, this wasn’t just a weird mid-year break, but the end of the year.
Hank was super lucky; his teachers held a picnic at a local park. When they learned that he wasn’t going to attend as we didn’t deem it safe, they came to our house to say their goodbyes. It was a perfect closure for me, I got to talk to them and it was almost refreshing. But for Hank, he saw that as a lucky occurrence of being able to see them again before he saw them again.
My sweet boy told me that he is looking forward to staying home with me and learning. I feel like I’ve won something. I had begun to enjoy teaching him at home in the last few weeks of last year. His teachers were sending out new lessons that were not review but completely new information and it was exciting to walk him through them. The next school year is likely to be as different and difficult as the last one, but I think that together, we can do this.