Vacation plans change due to COVID 19

Well most of our summer plans have changed – and even our Thanksgiving vacation plans are in jeopardy – and all due to COVID 19 lockdowns.

Originally we had planned to go to South Padre Island as part of my husband’s annual summer conference. But due to the uncertainty if restrictions would still exist on how many people can gather in one place, the attorney group hosting the conference moved it to a virtual conference.

So, gone was our trip to the beach though my husband and I thought me might take the kids later in July if things improved. This discussion was back in April before Texas started relaxing the Stay At Home rules.

We also had plans to go to New Orleans with my parents and brother. But that has been an area hard hit with cases of COVID 19. We had tickets to ride in at PT Boat but they were refunded when the company said they would not be open to July at the earliest.  We held off cancelling our trip until the beginning of May. But there is no use going if all the attractions we planned to visit are closed and no restaurants are open.

So, that vacation too was cancelled. But that didn’t stop us from changing our plans. Now we have plans to go to South Padre Island with my parents and brother for a 3-night stay. The kids are excited about the beach. And hopefully nothing will happen between now and the end of June to change the access to the beach. As long as there is not a flare of COVID 19 in Texas, I expect they will continue to relax our restrictions and our beach vacation will stay a possibility.

Shanghai Disneyland reopens after closing due to coronavirusOur biggest trip this year was supposed to be a week long trip to Walt Disney World over Thanksgiving break. Of course, right now, the parks are closed and no date has been announced for their reopening. I expect them to open sometime this summer. They may run with a lower capacity and masks may be required. Whether all that will still be in place in November is anyone’s guess.

The kicker is that we booked our room by renting DVC points. This is a non-refundable purchase. I seriously considered trip insurance but this was back in January and at the time I couldn’t think of a reason we would need it. In February, I bought our park tickets two days before they raised the prices for this year. At the time, I was happy that I saved money. Now, even though they are dated tickets, we probably could cancel them and use the tickets at a later date, but we still have our room already paid for so the chances of us cancelling now are low.

Airfare goes on sale with Southwest at the end of this month. If prices stay as low as they have been, I’ll be purchasing those tickets and that will seal us into going as long as Disney World is open. It won’t be the dream vacation we were hoping for but we will make the best of the situation. Of course, it is easy to say that now but in reality, we have no clue what will be happening six months for now. Maybe we will have wasted our money and not be able to go. Or maybe we will go and have a good time. Only time will tell.



Finishing up the school year with distance learning

At the end of March, I wrote my third post about COVID-19 in which I wrote about my kids’ school moving to distance learning. At the time, we thought we would be going back to school on April 24. Then the date was moved to May 4, and then finally the governor of Texas closed schools for the rest of this school year.

This means that the last 9 weeks of school would all be done online. Now, I’ve read lots of articles about parents or students struggling with distance learning. Parents don’t know how to teach their kids or don’t have the time or knowledge. Students aren’t being engaged, don’t have the discipline without supervision or simply are “done” with school (which would have happened even if the students were in school).

But I have not run into these problems. I worked from home before this and while the kids’ distance learning did/does in interfere with my work, I’ve learned to just make sure I am free in the mornings when they might need help. I can always do my work in the evening if necessary. And while I am not an expect on every topic they are covering, I am good at researching online and if it is math, I simply turn it over to my husband. But really, they have not required my help all that much. It helps that they are in middle school and can work independently (mostly).

There is a big difference in the assignments for each kid. Lexie’s homework usually consists of reading something or watching a video/PowerPoint presentation and then answering a few questions. Jase, on the other hand, has pages to write or presentations to create. While Lexie’s school work is done in an hour or so each morning, Jase works three to four hours each day Monday through Thursday, completing 2 classes each day.

Lexie, who has ADHD, is hard to keep focused. Even on her medication, she feels the allure of her phone, YouTube, her sketchbook, her bed and any number of things that call to her rather than doing the assignment before her. Jase needs no guidance.

Domuni - Connecting people through distance learning | DomuniMy only concern – and one Jase shares – is that while the lessons are good, they only have one assignment per class per week. It feels like they could be doing more. It isn’t like they are attending class. Many times, there is no lecture or even no contact with the teacher beyond an assignment posted in Google Classroom. If they were actually in class, I feel they would be learning so much more. Or perhaps not. Much of the final quarter of school is often spent on benchmark or standardized tests so class time is used for review.

And I do understand that the school is trying to work with everyone’s schedules and abilities, but when they were once having seven hours of school (roughly 35 hours a week not including homework), we are now working at 10 to 16 hours of schooling. They are losing so much by not being in the classroom and it isn’t just the amount of time they are working. They are missing peer interaction, classroom discussions, and hands-on learning and experiments. But I know the teachers were thrown into this, so I try not to worry about it.

There are two more weeks of distance learning left. Then it will be summertime and hopefully they will be returning to the actual school buildings next year.