Like many families, we have some big decisions to make about school this fall. As you probably know, our oldest, Caroline, should be headed to kindergarten. This is a scary and emotional milestone even during a normal year, and even more so during a pandemic! After carefully considering all of our options, we have decided to homeschool both girls for the 2020-2021 school year!
I’ve received a lot of questions about this and how we’re going to make it work with our busy lives, so I’ll do my best to answer those questions here.
Why homeschool instead of virtual school?
My first and foremost concern was the health of myself and my family. We feel that there are still too many unknowns about how coronavirus is spread and its long-term impact to be comfortable sending the girls to school. Additionally, as a wedding photographer, it’s my responsibility to remain as healthy as possible to ensure that I’m able to fulfill my contracts. I’ve done my best to minimize my risk and practice social distancing since March, and that’s not about to end now.
We also needed a solution that would allow us to educate the girls on our own schedule. Adam and I both work full-time and as we learned during virtual school in the spring, scheduled Zoom classes just don’t work for our family. The girls get distracted and upset because they can’t actually talk to their friends and teachers, and the timing of the classes made it difficult for me to complete my work days successfully.
What will school days look like?
Fortunately, at the girls’ ages, about an hour of schooling a day is more than enough! My plan is to devote 8am-10am to homeschooling. That time might be used a little different every day, rotating through subjects such as math, language arts, science, and social studies. Reading books together will continue to be a daily staple.
At 10am, the girls will go to Adam’s parents so that I can begin my workday. This has been our schedule since COVID closed schools, so honestly, homeschooling isn’t a huge change to our routine! It’s simply applying a little structure and intention to the way we spend our mornings.
What will this mean for AWP?
My clients should see no change at all. I’m hiring an editor in the fall to process my wedding galleries for me, which will considerably decrease my workload and actually free up some time to focus on other responsibilities and self care. I’ve gotten into a good rhythm with working out and eating better, and that’s not going to stop now either!
Truthfully, 2020 has been AWP’s best year yet, despite a pandemic and massive changes in the wedding industry. We’ve found a way to evolve and keep serving our couples, and I’m not going anywhere!
Is there anything you’re nervous or concerned about?
Ummm, YEAH. Parents have no good options in 2020, and there is no easy or obvious solution. I’m fully aware that we’re fortunate to have access to childcare and flexible careers. I worry that the girls will miss out on crucial socialization. I worry that I won’t have the patience that teaching requires. I worry that I’ll sink into old bad habits, working around the clock and not making time for myself.
But honestly, I’m also excited! I’m choosing to see this as an opportunity to spend more time with my kids in a way that I never expected to.
When will you start?
We kind of already have! Caroline took her placement tests yesterday to make sure she’s on track for kindergarten (spoiler alert – she is!). I’ve started reading to the girls each morning and applying a little more structure to our mornings instead of mindless TV watching. We can’t officially start until the week of August 10th due to homeschool regulations, but I think that’ll line up perfectly with our schedule. I still need to finish converting part of the studio into a homeschool space – more to come!