Online or In-person School- Why Is This So Hard?

Parenting has never been easy. Trying to raise tiny humans to be kind and productive members of society that love Jesus and contribute to the good in the world is complicated, messy, and downright difficult! On top of that, they expect to be fed multiple times a day!

Toss in a pandemic with a barrage of contradicting information and social media panic, and parenting gets that much harder.

Never before have we not been able to rely on school starting in the fall. Whether that is a public school, private school, or home school, it has always simply started. (Props to my home school friends, I know it’s not that simple.)

Like everything else in 2020 – it’s complicated. Where and when to go school supply shopping used to be the most complicated decision we had to make, but not this year!

Some school districts have made the decision for us, and moved to virtual learning; however, many are giving a choice.

So what are we supposed to choose? How do we decide?

For some, the choice is obvious and requires very little thought. For many of us, it is far from clear. In fact, it is one of the most difficult decisions we had to make in a long time. There are so many contributing factors and unique situations. What is a parent to do?

I cannot make this decision for you. If I could, I would gladly help you out but this choice is not mine to make. This one is all on you, baby!

While I can’t tell you what to do, I can help you think through it. Here are 10 questions to consider.

  1. Does my child or a person in my household have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk for severe or long term damage or death if they get COVID-19?
  2. Do I trust my child’s school to do everything in their power to help keep the kids safe?
  3. Can my child learn and thrive in an online environment?
  4. Can I provide the necessities for online learning such as a computer, the internet, and in-home care?
  5. Does my child regularly deal with anxiety that will prevent them from learning online or during in-person schooling?
  6. Do I feel safe with my child riding the bus, or can I provide alternate transportation?
  7. How does my child and the others in my household feel about this issue?
  8. Do I trust my child to follow the protocols and regulations that my school districts have set?
  9. Do I feel safe with my child’s school policies for food distribution, or am I able to provide lunch for them?
  10. Do these decisions apply equally to all children in my household, or will there need to be different plans for individual children?

Your family is in a different situation than mine. What works for you, may not work for your neighbor.

You are the expert on your family. You know their needs, desires, talents and weakness.

This is an individual choice.

This is a hard choice.

But, we do not have to choose alone!

Our Sovereign God, that created our children, cares about this too! This was not a surprise to Him and he wants to help. But because he is not a bully and gives us free will. We have to decide if we will go to him for help and then listen and obey. You may have the smartest and best friends on the planet but they did not knit you in your mother’s womb or have not numbered the hairs on your head.

James 1:5 tell us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

This applies to deciding to send our kids to in-person or online school.

When the Psalmist was stuck and didn’t know what to do, he wrote a song about it. Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

We don’t have to have it all figured out right now. We simply need the next step. It’s scary to step out in faith but the Lord is faithful to show us the path. Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Spend a little extra time in the Word.

Ask God for the wisdom you need to make the best decision for your family. Make a list of pros and cons if that helps you. Once you’ve decided, plop on the couch and let out a big sigh of relief. Then go and support your friends like you want them to support you.

I have complete confidence in you because of the One that is in you!

So do not fear, for I am with you;

    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10