CJ School Chronicles Rewind… His third year in Mexico, Virtually!

Well, August came, and August went, along with our hopes that school would be in person this year. But no, school is still virtual here in Mexico. The government has said that the state has to be in “Green” before school will resume in person. Currently we are still in Orange, so not happening! (Red – Orange – Yellow – Green)

I guess when it comes to virtual learning, it isn’t much different here than anywhere else. Except he still has classes in Spanish, still doesn’t speak Spanish, and no online tutoring hour to help him this year! And yes, I did say he was doing great with Spanish, but like all 15 year olds, easy in, easy out. Without the constant hearing/speaking of Spanish, he lost most everything he had learned, making virtual school almost impossible now.

Oh, in the beginning we didn’t really realize this. We were enjoying a little bit of escape from quarantine, we went to Louisiana to move our daughter into LSU, we went to Colorado for a meeting I had for work. We thought we might have just gotten the best of both worlds. Live life on our own schedule while squeezing school in virtually. But we quickly found out that it did not work this way!

Again with the call from the principal that we needed to have a meeting. “CJ isn’t doing his schoolwork. He isn’t showing up for Zoom calls. He isn’t turning in assignments. It is at the end of the first trimester and he has a ZERO for all his work.”

So back to our philosophy. Our expectations are based on effort, and not grades, but effort can be something very hard to judge. We realized we had depended on his honest feedback on how he was doing. But what we didn’t know was that his hatred of online school and his struggle with Spanish was so great, that he had just basically checked out. Oh, he said he was doing his work. But he wasn’t. So, time for a new game plan.

Honestly, I have no idea how parents are successfully homeschooling these kids through this virtual minefield (and have the greatest respect for the ones who do it well). It basically requires you to become your child’s teacher for 8 hours a day. How do you do that when you also are at home, working remotely, for 8 hours a day? How do you duplicate yourself and get two things done simultaneously?

Well, I’m here to tell you that I can’t. I try. I ask if he is doing classes, I ask if he is doing his assignments, but I just can’t be that person that sits with him all day. I mean, how did we become our children’s personal assistants? That is basically what this role it. Did you log on to Zoom? Do you need me to contact the teacher to get your assignment? Do you need me to upload your work for you? Do you need me to remind you when your afternoon class starts? And so on and so forth.

Really. If you are the parent that can do this – high praise for you! Because for me, it is just another parent fail moment.

Well, that call was right before Christmas break, so after having 4 weeks off, we dropped the ball when classes started again. I had surgery coming up, both me and Britt working non stop, and we just trusted he was doing what he said he was doing. I mean, never in our wildest dreams did we not think the kids would still be virtual in January 2021! We were not prepared for this at all. So, CJ was back on the honor system.

Until I got another call from the principal. “It is the end of the second trimester, and CJ is failing. He shows up for Zoom now, but doesn’t participate. He doesn’t do assignments. He has nothing turned in to grade. We are worried because there is only one trimester left and he is still almost at a Zero. What can we do?”

What can we do? I have no idea anymore. Quit? Give up? Run away? Ok, no, none of those things, but yeah, that is what went through my head.

Luckily, the principal and this school are absolutely understanding and supportive. Bending over backwards to make this work for CJ. She said she knows he is super smart, and his failing is not a matter of not being smart enough, but it’s a matter of him just not being motivated to do it. So, one more chance, pass the last trimester, pass the school year.

We had a long talk with CJ. It’s either do the work for the next 3 months and pass 9th grade or don’t do it and fail, then have another 10 months of work to take 9th grade again. Which I know he doesn’t want to do. Heck, none of us want to do!

He now has his own desk right on the side of mine. I’m sure our Zoom calls will be competing with each other, but hey, it’s only 3 months, right? Surely school will be in person by August… right? Right???

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