What My Kids Have Learned

On the night before the 2021-2022 school year will begin…

Like “social distancing” became part of our vocabulary, “learning loss” are the new words being tossed around to describe the concept that children are “behind” after a year of remote/hybrid/pandemic learning and will need to “catch up” in the coming year.

I’m not an educator by any means, but I call bullshit on any expert that says kids are “behind.”

The Instagram account Subversive Thread calls the idea that students must “catch up” a myth and posted the following:

The narrative that students have “lost” a year of learning dismissed that young people have spent the past 18 months learning what no other students have had to learn in the history of public education.

Students are trying to survive a global pandemic and, in addition to their coursework, are learning valuable lessons about coping and community building.

Subversive Thread

My kids may have learned little by way of math or science last year. I am grateful to so many teachers that quickly adapted to the remote learning environment and put the well-being of students above anything they were trying to teach. I was admittedly frustrated by other teachers who demanded the same level of contribution and participation as the classroom.

My kids did terrible with remote learning. They’re both normally great students but left to their own devices (literally) at home they found other things far more interesting. They were distracted. Bored. Didn’t care. No amount of begging, pleading, or bribing could make them care.

It pushed me mentally to a breaking point. One of my sons told me that he was miserable. I had to say, over and over, “I know this sucks. I wish it weren’t like this. We just have to get through it.”

So frankly, I don’t care what they absorbed or didn’t absorb in the way of schoolwork last year. We survived, as a family of five people home close to 100% of the time for a year. My kids listened to the morning news and heard daily reports about Covid, masks, the progress of vaccines, and the polarization of the country.

They watched their parents struggle but also adapt. When things weren’t going well, we made changes, like turning our living room into a classroom.

Though the pandemic still ranges, our lives are much different now. We know more than we did in the beginning. Our county is well-vaccinated so Covid feels like less of a threat, even among unvaccinated kids. We feel relatively safe doing outdoor activities. My kids learned that bad things — hard things — don’t always last forever.