Friday, September 18, 2020

Five Minute Blogging: Things Are Not Great

 I left my three children all crying over their online schoolwork this morning and went to work.  I'm so anxious it's waking me up out of a sound sleep.  I would see a therapist, but honestly, what are they going to say?  Things aren't so bad, put it in perspective?  It won't get worse before it gets better?  Just accept how terrible everything is?  Don't worry, the government has it under control?  The vaccine will be safe and effective?  The November election is gonna go fine?  (I think some nice drugs would help, but there are literally three psych doctors in this town and two of them are AWFUL.)  So I don't know what I'm going to do but something has to change.

The college (my employer!) is on track for a huge outbreak, which will also force public schools to stay closed longer (currently they claim they will open in, like, November, when clearly things will be better.... oh, wait, I'm hearing from my friend Basic Arithmetic that this cannot possibly be true).

I am trying to decide when I pull my kids out of public school and try to homeschool while working full-time. 

I am trying to decide how I'm going to teach my classes online when my home doesn't have enough internet speed for all five of us to use it, and I can't bring any of the children to campus.

I am trying to decide how long my mother can, realistically, spend 2.5 days a week with us. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Recent Excellent Reads

 These are all the best, most interesting books I've read recently, some of which I paid real money for and all of which I found delightful.

 Bringing Down the Duke (Evie Dunmore). Smart historical romance. Suffragist meets duke. Real intellectual and romantic conflict ensues. (m/f)

Red, White, and Royal Blue. Hilarious and touching modern royal love story. m/m.

The Boyfriend Project. Go read this immediately. I laughed out loud. It was wonderful. (Modern romance, m/m)

Silver in the Wood and Drowned Country (Emily Tesh). Novella length haunting, unexpected fantasy.

Slippery Things and The Sugared Game (KJ Charles). Mystery! Adventure! Romance!  

Babylon Steel/ Dangerous Gifts (Gaie Sebold). Sci-fi and weirdness, with strong women.

Have you read anything great to recommend to me?

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Virtual School +3

 Oldest child, who is in the study with the router, spent much of the day playing online games instead of doing his work.

Middle child's teacher insists he do allllll the math assignments on subtraction despite the fact he can multiply large numbers in his head and already worked through a whole year of math over the summer. (I am about to be unpleasant about this.) Art teacher is distressed we have boycotted Online Art; she also thinks covid has a 10% death rate so I'm not bothered. He did write a story about a lizard, but seems to need some remedial work on punctuation.

Youngest child refuses to talk on camera, at all. We have also boycotted her math lessons in favor of learning real math. PE is also.right out.  I am unconvinced that an hour online with her teacher is just as good as school all day because, in fact, I will not buy your bridge in Florida.

Friday there's no classes but they are supposed to do some work. They mostly did it already, because it was ridiculously easy.

 Current estimate of chances online schools is good: 10% and falling.

Internet still extremely problematic; no adult can work while children do school. Except for the part where an adult must be home at all times, because the youngest is FIVE.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Virtual School +1

 Complete disaster. Crashed for the whole school after five (5) minutes. Kid 1's school computer has camera problems, so he can't turn in his first assignment. Science teacher did something mysterious and most of the class couldn't sign in at all. Elementary school schedules sent home are already wrong, verging on a fantasy. 

Worst of all, this small town's ISPs simply can't support an extra 500 people logging on at the same time (1/7 of the town's population!). While most of their parents also work from home. 

Tomorrow will certainly be less bad, but there is no way this is even getting to okay, and the school district still does not have ONE SINGLE METRIC for when it's okay to reopen. (There were 2 cases in the whole county last week and they were both at the same college. That's IT. I am so angry.)

Sunday, September 06, 2020

T-2 to Virtual School

 Today I set up the chromebooks and sorted through all the papers and logins for my three children. It took three hours. The kindergarten math work starts with how to write 1-5, which is fine, but 1) there is no assessment to figure out who needs what and 2) my kid is finished with the first grade math curriculum already.  

Meanwhile, I nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to figure out what the heck my 6th grader is supposed to be doing.  Also, gym consists entirely of them logging physical activity; I wonder if they've considered firing the gym teacher. And the kids are supposed to be figuring this out themselves? (No, of course not; the parents are supposed to be doing half the teachers'  jobs, for free, while also working.)

Let's see how long we make it, and how little we can get away with doing.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Stardate: Day 4

 It is the fourth day of the semester. So far I have forgotten the correct protonation state of histidine, a doctor's appointment, and the fact that the babysitter was scheduled for today. All my tech has had serious issues, and now I have a literal migraine. I have gotten seventeen panicked emailed from students. I am currently hiding in the bath while the kids play with the babysitter. I'm helping organize a parent led writing campaign to City Council. And it's only Thursday.

How is YOUR week going? 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Dear Students and Colleagues,

 As you have doubtless heard by now, public schools have just- six days before school was to start!- decided to go all-online for nine weeks.  Yes, they have freaked out today about a cumulative regional caseload that looks like this, distributed across a population of almost 300,000:

Lest you think, but the college students! all of ours were tested on return and almost nobody was positive. If this seems misguided to you, wait until you hear the best part: the superintendent, who is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, is convinced things will be better in 9 weeks. In October. You know what's just getting going in mid-October?

You will note, students and colleagues, that it is, literally, illegal to leave a five year old home alone. Our childcare now consists of two mornings a week of the 16 year old neighbor, a college student one afternoon a week, and my 68 year old mother.  I will be available approximately 30 hours a week to do all the work for my full-time job. This is because the country, state, and university are united in responding to this set of impossible conflicts with a firm and caring  "Dear Parents, Fuck You Very Much." In return, I'm proud to respond to their support in this trying time by offering the bare minimum of effort that will still get me paid!

In summary, if you need something, email me. 

Yours in complete fury,

Jenny F. Scientist