Conversations with a 13-Year-Old: Virtual School, Day 2

CHASE: Mom, I’m done!
MOM: OK, I’m coming.
CHASE: Why?
MOM: To check it.
CHASE: Oh my GOD, WHY?!?
(Mom walks upstairs.)
MOM: Go to your task list. It will list everything that isn’t done yet.
(Clicks on tasks…. A HUGE list of things from the beginning of the school year appears.)
MOM: Omg.
CHASE: That’s all old stuff.
MOM: I can see that. Scroll down. (scrolls) What’s this ELA assignment?
(He opens it)
CHASE: Well I wasn’t sure what to do, but I read it.
MOM: It says to annotate the text.
CHASE: Yeah but I don’t know how to do that on here.
MOM: Well instead of just skipping it, why don’t you ask?
CHASE: Oh my GOD.
(MOM shows him how to edit the document, walks back downstairs, sits in chair.)
CHASE: Mom! It’s not working!

O… M… G…..

Conversations With a 13-Year Old: Virtual School, Day 1

We’re only about an hour and a half into this online learning thing, and I have already learned that online learning with a middle schooler is going to be exhausting. It’s a little like this (on repeat… over and over and over and over….):

CHASE: (10 minutes into the “class”) I’m done.
MOM: Already?
CHASE: Yeah.
MOM: Hold on, I’m coming. (walks upstairs, looks at computer) What about all this other stuff your teacher posted?
CHASE: Huh?
MOM: What’s this?
CHASE: I don’t know.
MOM: Well, click on it. (he does) Looks like a description of what you’re supposed to do for the assignment.
CHASE: What?!?
MOM: So get started on that.
CHASE: But it’s not due until April 10th!
MOM: So get it done now so on April 9th you’re not mad at me for not allowing you to play video games because you have so much work to get done.
CHASE: Oh my GOD, Mom!
(10 minutes later…)
CHASE: Mom, I’m done!
MOM: Hold on, I’m coming. (walks upstairs, looks at computer) OK, but what about the OTHER stuff your teacher posted?
CHASE: Oh my GOD, Mom!

I’m over it already.

Spring Break!

The kids and I had different spring break weeks this year, so we decided to take a long weekend away between the two breaks so we could have some fun! We decided to fly to………..

New Orleans!

None of us had ever been so it was fun exploring together for the first time. Right before we left we started hearing more and more about the Coronavirus coming to the U.S. We brought hand sanitizer as a precaution but it wasn’t until we got there we realized the concern was growing bigger and bigger. The New Orleans schools shut down while we were there. We had to work to distance ourselves from people at the hotel as much as we could (especially at breakfast, where we all watched the constantly playing news reports on TV), some things started shutting down, crowds were small, etc.

Nonetheless, we were excited to explore together, as none of us had been before! Our first stop was Mardi Gras World. It was so cool to watch artists work on the floats for the next parade…

…and see some of the float pieces from past parades!

Next we checked out the Audubon Aquarium:

We wandered around Jackson Square, where we tried beignets for the first time (yummmm)….

…and where Chase was asked to help a street performer in front of the St. Louis Cathedral!

We went on a ghost tour through St. Louis Cemetery No. 1:

OMG it was hot.

One of the cool parts of that tour was the walk to and from the cemetery. Such cool buildings (and of course we had to stop for a souvenir)!

We checked out the National World War II Museum, which was amazing! At this point we really started to notice that the virus was becoming more of a big deal. They turned off all the interactive iPads, and we could no longer get the equipment for guided tours. We started using hand sanitizer more often and kept our hands off railings, etc.

My favorite exhibit was the Ghost Army exhibit, where I learned about how theatre played a part in the war! How cool is that?!? I wish I had known that while I was teaching!

And all the old planes “flying” over our heads were pretty unbelievable, too:

And then we got to ride a streetcar! This was at the top of Chloe’s list. And we didn’t pick just any streetcar. We rode the St. Charles Streetcar, the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world (in operation since 1835):

We ended our trip at City Park, which was really quiet. They usually have an amusement park but they closed it due to the virus, so we just explored the rest of the park:

We were able to play mini golf there, but we had to wipe down our balls and clubs when we were done, and contact with the workers was limited. I loved the course, though. It was beautiful and you got some history along the way!

We covered a lot of ground in our few days there!

By the time we left they had closed schools back home and we were extra careful in the airport. Hand sanitizer is now our friend! We are glad we made it back before they really started shutting things down!