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Handling the Pandemic: What to Do About School?

When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit the country in March of 2020 our first child was just preparing to wrap up her first year of pre-school. At four years old she was only going part time but it was still a bit of an adjustment for all of us when school was suddenly gone

For our four year old, she was used to learning from her fantastic teacher and mom was a pretty poor substitute as far as she was concerned. For me, as mom, it was a bit of a juggling act managing school work and our two younger children. 

Things could get a little noisy as I tried to keep the little ones busy so we could practice letters, colors and work on art projects. I was extremely thankful for the dedicated teachers who tirelessly put together packets of work to finish out the 2019-2020 school year. 

As a family we took time to enjoy the summer months doing our typical activities. We went on road trips to see family, took swimming lessons at the local pool that was thankfully able to set up lessons that allowed for safe social distancing, and we overall enjoyed the calmer and quieter summer around our farm. 

However, as the summer months started to wind down and it became clear that our local public schools wouldn’t be returning to in-person learning I started to get nervous. While a few months of mom playing teacher had worked okay I knew that we’d need a different solution for our school aged daughter in order to make sure her education didn’t suffer.

We researched a lot of different programs for homeschooling. There was so much information to absorb though that I started to get overwhelmed. Most of them required me to be the teacher. Given how we had struggled March-May of 2020 I didn’t think that would be a good solution. I wanted my daughter to be excited about learning and I wanted her to have access to a teacher who truly knew how to instill a love of learning in kids.

Just as I was ready to give up, I saw an advertisement from the Walla Walla Public Schools for their new online education solution for COVID-19. They were going to use a full K thru 12 online school curriculum and I knew immediately that was the solution. 

To start, it was offered at no additional cost. As part of the Walla Walla Public Schools it was offered free of tuition. Second, while I was still going to play an active role in my daughter’s education there would be an actual teacher who could serve as a coach for both her and me. Finally, it would allow her to go to school while also accommodating our busy life with a growing family.

Choosing to go this route has proven to be an amazing thing for us and I would highly encourage anyone else in the area to consider giving it a try. 

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