Friday, July 31, 2020

A viable option

Because of the pandemic and the closing of schools back in the spring, many parents became defacto home school teachers. They didn't ask for the job; it just happened.

There is a faction of parents who do, in fact, choose to home school. Best I remember, it became a thing not long after I became a parent for the first time in 1984. And while we have known a lot of folks who chose this option for their childrens' education, and we have the utmost respect for them, it was not for us.

Except for a brief period of time in the fall of 1997.

We knew we would be moving from Arkansas to the Nashville area. I was, in fact, already working here and commuting back and forth while Wife stayed back to try and sell the house. She had been a business owner for a number of years, and had sold the business in anticipation of our move. So she was not employed at the time.

Ideally, we would have already been in Middle Tennessee by the time school started, but it didn't work that way. The real estate market in Little Rock was not exactly thriving and we had a rather odd house, so there was very little activity.

(Long story, but we finally decided to rent it to a family that needed temporary housing, and rent a house for ourselves in the suburb where we now live. But that didn't happen until mid-October. It took three years to sell that house!)

Our two older children, who were going into sixth and third grade, respectively, had been in a private school in Little Rock. We decided, when we moved, we would try public schools, having heard how good they were where we would be moving.

But when school started in mid-August, and we still had not moved, we were met with a dilemma.

Would we go ahead and start them in the school they had each attended since kindergarten, and pull them out that fall? That option would mean we would have to pay tuition, so it wasn't exactly attractive. Would we let them essentially play hookey until we made the move, which would mean they would be behind when they eventually started school?

I think it was Wife who came up with the idea of home schooling for that interim period before we moved to Tennessee. While we knew we would not consider it long term, we decided it was a viable temporary option.

Since this was before everything was online, she called the school district where we would be living and got the curriculum for sixth and third grades. She even bought some of the text books.

While we were the most unlikely of home school families, I must say Wife did a good job. By the time we moved, both Older Son and Daughter were right on schedule, if not a litte ahead.

The classroom part, however, was not without a few glitches. For Wife and Older Son, it was a dream. They are both lovers of life, and socialization was much more important than a rigid schedule.

On some days they might start around 9 a.m., but on others Wife might decide to let Older Son, who was just beginning to fall in love with golf, go play a round and do school later in the day. Some days she might decide to let everyone sleep in and start school later in the day. And some days she might just skip it.

Again, this type of schedule (or lack thereof) was a dream come true for Older Son. For Daughter, however, this was not an acceptable arrangement. She expected school to start at a set time each day, with breaks for recess and lunch.

A flexible schedule did not work for her, and she took every opportunity to express her frustration to me either on the phone or when I was home on weekends.She was very concerned she would be behind when she finally got in real school.

There was also another little guy in the mix at the time - Younger Son, a very active four-year-old at the time. Daughter did not like it a bit that he was allowed to be present, and very much present a distraction, during school time when she was supposed to have been learning.

That period of time lasted about three months and, as I said, it accomplished its purpose. Our two school aged children were well prepared to continue their educations and even Daughter begrudgingly admitted it.

It has become part of family lore and makes for good story-telling.

(Thanks to Ed for your assistance in getting blogger to work better for me. I'm still not thrilled with the changes, but your suggestions were helpful.)

Thursday, July 30, 2020


I have been working on a new post, but before I put it up, I want to ask any of my blog friends who use the blogger platform if they have been having any problems with the new format? It is driving me bonkers. I exercised the option of reverting to the "legacy" platform, but it's not much better. Case in point: I write my piece and when I go to post it, THERE ARE NO PARAGRAPHS! All the sentences run together, just as these are doing. (This next sentence is the start of a new paragraph, by the way). I've talked to users of WordPress and I'm probably on my way to moving over when I can figure out how without losing everything, but before I do, I wanted to see if anyone is experiencing the same frustration? Any suggestions?

Friday, July 3, 2020

And so it continues

We are three-plus months into this quarantine/pandemic/different way of life, and here in Tennessee the numbers aren't so good.

I live in a county just south of Nashville, and we are back "open" with all sorts of precautions. We can go out to eat, but restaurant staff will usually be wearing masks and tables are at least six feet apart.

Stores are open, but I've only been to hardware and grocery stores, and haven't paid much attention to the protocols other establishments are following.

Numbers of COVID cases in Tennessee are up, and in Nashville they are, if we believe what we hear in news reports, spiking. Nashville's mayor has declared mandatory mask-wearing.

Wife and I don't go out to eat these days unless we know we can sit outside, and now it's really too hot, so if we want something we don't prepare, we do takeout. I think that is what has sustained many of the restaurants through this and I think they're still doing a lot of it.

I work from home 100 percent of the time now, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. I manage a team of four people, and it is pretty seamless for us. We can do our jobs remotely without a problem and the longer we do it, the more normal it becomes.

I've been asked a few times how I measure productivity of my team and my reply is I measure it as I always have. Everyone knows what they need to do and we have goals and objectives to meet that are no different than if we were in an office. If I see someone lagging (and so far I have not), I'll address it.

I do miss the interaction, though. I don't think I ever fully appreciated how much my social needs were met at work. I'm a self-described high-side introvert (that's my terminology), meaning I can do fine alone and at times I enjoy seclusion. But I also need socialization. People make me tired, but I need the collaboration.

So I miss my work colleagues, and the occasional video conference is not a replacement for face-to-face contact.


Our church is resuming on-site services this Sunday, but Wife and I have decided to continue with online streaming for now. With both of us over 60, we are simply not ready to put ourselves at risk, even though I agree with reopening and I know extreme precautionary measures are taking place.

But for now, our assembling together for worship will continue to be virtual.