Redshirting: A Change of Plans for the School Year


Red Shirting: A Change of Plans for the School Year

Like everyone else on New Year’s Eve, I was excited to usher in 2020. This was going to be my year. The year I finally caught up and kept the house clean. The year that I got to work out in the gym at normal people hours instead of 4am, before anyone was awake. The year I could commit more time to reading books, writing in my blog, and enjoying watching my shows without staying up late and being drained the next day. 2020 had other plans however, and like so many other moms, this just isn’t going to be my year like I had hoped. Both of my kids were supposed to attend school this year. Between drop offs and pickups, I had big plans. Then COVID hit and my plans were pushed back another year.

This year we will be redshirting both children.

We are lucky enough to be able to do this — it is a blessing! We have the chance to protect them and ourselves from illness by doing this. My son is five and just barely meets the cut off to be able to not attend kindergarten this year. We had talked about redshirting him before, but sent him to pre-k last year anyway, only to have the year cut short. We made the attempt at virtual learning, but it didn’t pan out at all. He hated it! He has never taken well to me trying to teach him anything. He’s a quick learner, but it has to be on his terms. Apparently mama playing teacher is not something he will tolerate. Add that his little sister won’t let us be for five minutes, let alone hours, for him to concentrate on school at home, it becomes an unworkable situation. My daughter was supposed to attend pre-k this year, but due to Coronavirus, she will be staying home as well. Originally intending to send her to private preschool means that there is no online instruction provided for her, so trying to do virtual learning for them both isn’t an option.

Instead of sending them both to school or attempting online learning, they will both stay home without online learning even being brought into the picture. I will do workbooks with them and try to keep them up to speed at our own pace. As much as I’m grieving the loss of the year I would’ve had, I’m trying my hardest to enjoy another year with them in our safe space. It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. I was looking forward to watching them grow while gaining some space for myself. This year already looks so different than I had planned. I had epic plans for the summer full of activities out of the house. Instead we spend the days trying not to tear each other’s heads off as we are all stuck in the house for seemingly endless amounts of time. My kids are completely sick of each other and the fighting has my nerves raw, but this is the safest option for our family.

I grudgingly made the phone call yesterday to officially unenroll my son from school. The school secretary was so nice and helpful. She did not once ask me why we were making our decision. I think a lot of parents will do the same given the same circumstances. I hope that next year, when they return to school, there are other older children that have also been redshirted. I hope that my son won’t be the only six-year-old in kindergarten. I also hope that I can help him retain some of the knowledge he gained this last year in pre-k. I hope this affords my daughter the time she needs to be healthy (we are still working through her encopresis) and be ready for pre-k next year. Mostly, I hope that I can remain sane this year while I keep them home safe and sound away from illness.

This year will look so different for so many families. A wrench has been thrown in everyone’s plans. I hope no matter what schooling option everyone has chosen for their family, that everyone stays healthy and happy. Mostly, I hope that the health crisis passes and this is just a year that we learn and grow in different ways, even if those ways were not in the plans.