What will back to school look like for your family this September?
For most children, school will be in a traditional classroom. The majority of those who were enrolled in virtual school up until last June will trade computer screens and profile pics for chalkboards and peers and teachers in the flesh; and only a small percentage will return for another round of online learning.
My daughters — entering Grade 3 and junior kindergarten — fall into the latter category. The decision to return them to virtual was made in March without any idea of what the world would look like six months later; it was done so with a lengthy pros and cons list, research and conversations with medical professionals, culminating in an eleventh-hour selection that left us unsure whether we’d made the right choice.
Life continues to change — not just because of COVID-19 — and parents, as they always have, make decisions on behalf of their children: gymnastics or hockey? Piano or violin? As a general life rule, we don’t know if we’re making the right choices, but as my husband Kyle likes to say, “you make the best decision with the information you have at the time” (just one of his many charmingly irritating truisms), and it goes double, it seems, for parents. We all want the best for our children, but wringing our hands wondering if we’ve done the right thing isn’t going to solve the dilemma. You just have to take into account your family’s individual needs and go with it.
In this back-to-school issue, we’ve included stories that address a variety of concerns our readers might encounter in the prelude to the 2022-2023 school year. Ottawa journalist Jon Willing shares a perhaps unforeseen, yet common challenge for parents of tots entering school for the first time: daycare costs will be slashed (yay!) but taking its place will be a mandatory entry in the hunger games-esque race for March Break and summer camp spots (boo, hiss).
In the latest Memoirs of a New Dad, Chris Hunt recalls having to choose a school as a young teen. History repeats itself decades later, as his son Riley faces a similar situation. Janhabi Nandy speaks to the experts about how parents can build good relationships with their children’s teacher and shares the dirt; and veteran writer — and mother of Alexander, now a young man in his 20s — Sheryl Bennett-Wilson provides the lowdown on independent schools, so you can explore for yourself whether it’s right for your family.
Wherever you and your children find yourselves this fall, we at Parenting Times wish you a most successful and memorable school year. And if you should ever find yourself waffling over the decisions you have made (as husband guy and I currently are), know this — you can be sure that your choices were rooted in love.