The Little Things Make a Big Difference

While scrolling though my Instagram feed, I came across a picture of a familiar girl in a setting that’s been unfamiliar to her for nearly a year. It was my daughter in her second grade classroom posing for Reading Across America Superhero day. Though her mouth was hidden behind her required face mask, due to Covid-19 restrictions, I could see her smile through her eyes. It was a smile of joy to be back in the classroom simply doing a classroom activity. A smile may not seem like much, and being in the classroom certainly would have been considered a regular occurrence last year. But after missing seeing her teacher and classroom in person, I know Quinn and her other three classmates, who are in-person on a hybrid schedule, consider these little moments to be a big deal. I know I do!

All the best,

Tanya

Ready for the New “Old” School: Transitioning to Hybrid Learning

First Day of In-Person School

The big day went from Monday to Thursday due to snow, and I was just as nervous and excited as I was when my daughter started kindergarten. Three months as a first grader and her entire experience as a second grader have been all virtual, and she would be returning to school in-person after learning virtually since March 2020.

Though her school was thorough in providing virtual information sessions, materials and videos regarding the procedures, I didn’t know how many children opted to remain virtual and how many would be in person. I feared Quinn being all alone I. Her classroom with just the teacher. As tempted as I was to email her teacher midway through the first day, I held back, and her teacher kindly sent an email with a few pictures of the children in the classroom.

It’s a small group, just four girls, and one of them was in my daughter’s kindergarten and first grade classroom. This put my mind at ease some. When Quinn walked through the door from school, our puppy was so happy to see her, as was I, especially hearing the smile in her voice.

“I had an amazing day, Mommy!” Quinn told me. I listened intently as she told me all about her day and how everything was set up. Though we have a long road ahead of us with the Covid-19 restrictions and vaccination process, I’m so happy that Quinn is getting more socialization with children her own age.

All the best,

Tanya

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Picture This: Covid-19 Second Grade School Photo

Mommy’s Digital Class Picture

As I looked over at my daughter’s first grade picture from 2019, it occurred to me that she wouldn’t have one for second grade, or would she? Thank goodness one of my avocations is digital design, so I was able to set up a special photo shoot just for her for 2020. She eagerly picked out the hairstyle she wanted, one where she got to wear some of her hair out. Quinn even selected the dress she wanted to wear and came up with some of her own poses.

Though we won’t have an actual “class” picture this year, I’m glad that I didn’t allow Covid-19 restrictions and the busyness of virtual learning for Quinn and online teaching for me to allow the significance of second grade to go overlooked. We’ll also be able to look back on this memory when we have all twelve of her class pictures, thirteen including kindergarten, and reflect on the year that we had extra memorable moments together.

All the best,

Tanya

First Week Back: A Walk to Remember on the Pathway to Getting “Schooled”

A Walk to Remember

Virtual learning is less stressful and far more relaxing, right? Wrong! Well, maybe for some, but for me…the jury is still out. The first week back teaching virtual courses and interacting with students synchronously and asynchronously, helping my second grader through the process and addressing a technical issue or two while tending to our 15 week old puppy and taking him to his first puppy grooming midweek and then class today left me wonder how I’m going to manage to balance it all in the coming weeks.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. I can only imagine how parents with multiple children who may not be able to work from home are holding up. So with this in mind, I may be feeling a tad exhausted at times, but I’m grateful.

Who knows when, but one day I’ll find myself reminiscing about the moments of us all being home, bonding and working through it all together. There’s so much to learn right now, and I’m trying my best to keep that in mind when I start feeling overwhelmed.

All the best,

Tanya

The “Reality” of Virtual Learning & Teaching: Thanking My Daughter for Tips

Quinn is ready for virtual learning

Tomorrow is the first day of school for my daughter as a virtual learner and me as a virtual professor. The excitement and anxiety are definitely there: more on the excitement side for my daughter and anxious side for me.

Yesterday, she had an idea for her YouTube channel to post tips for virtual learning and came up with them all on her own. As I recorded her, edited and watched the video, seeing her confidence and positive outlook actually eased some of my anxiety as our new reality starts tomorrow.

For anyone else who’s nervous or anxious as a parent or caregiver, sometimes we can simply observe the calm demeanor and logical reasoning of our children. While the virtual learning situation may not be ideal for some, it definitely gives us an opportunity to challenge ourselves and overcome obstacles while strengthening our bonds with our children.

All the best,

Tanya

When Getting “Schooled” Really Hits Home: Coronavirus Lockdown Two Months and Counting…

A few days ago, we received a notice from my daughter’s school district informing us of the potential plans for the next school semester in accordance with the CDC guidelines. As I read the possible scenarios of continuing online learning, rotating in a biweekly schedule or a hybrid situation with online and in class time, it quickly became apparent that my hope for a “normal” second grade experience will not be a reality and will instead be replaced with more uncertainty.

While I’m grateful that these last two months of my first grader learning from home has been an overall good experience with her being eager to learn and do special projects, I know she misses her friends, teachers and simply being in the school atmosphere.

There’s just a few weeks left for this school year, so instead of growing concerned about how everything will play out come September, I’m trying to focus on right now and how we can still have a fun and memorable summer together.

Here’s to all parents and guardians trying to keep their children and themselves motivated while making it through these last few weeks of the school year!

All the best,

Tanya

Celebrating School: My Daughter’s 100 Days Smarter!

“Guess what, Mommy! Mrs. Moore said that we’re all 100 days smarter,” my first grader told me upon getting home from celebrating the 100th day of school. I have a sharp memory, and I do not recall ever celebrating the 100th day of school, just maybe the last day when everyone was eager to start summer break. While some parents may think the projects and hoopla is overboard, as a professor and parent, I think it’s awesome!

There’s so many goals students must complete and achieve. For some, it may be a cinch, while for others it may be overwhelming or extremely difficult. Either way, showing up and trying one’s best must be acknowledged too. It helps keep up morale and motivation. It also allows both parents and teachers to reflect on how far their students have come without it necessarily being about a grade or milestone that must be achieved.

Within that 100 days, Quinn hasn’t only gotten smarter intellectually but socially and emotionally. She’s gotten a little taller, developed new interests and even decided that she might want to be a teacher as her profession instead of a dancer. Indeed, I do anticipate more changes to come in the next 100 days, but I’m glad we both had an opportunity to rejoice in the time that’s passed thus far: she with her teacher and friends, and me as her proud mother.

All the best,

Tanya