17 August 2020

Today all three of my children returned to school for the 2020-2021 academic year. A year of having the family together every day.

Time Off in Work From Home Mode

So I took PTO last week, which seems odd. We did not go anywhere as a family. My spouse is not comfortable traveling during the pandemic. She has been right more often than not in the past, so I defer to her. I had a few nice trips planned for the spring and fall, that will have to wait until travel is encouraged again.

I only checked my client email three times. No pressing issues so I actually did get to unwind. I took care of chores, exercised more, walked more, slept enough. I spent as much time with my kids as they would allow. I did take the kids to Yellow Springs, Ohio on Friday. I love hiking in John Bryan, they love lunch at Young’s Dairy. I needed my summer time lemon custard, the mushroom and swiss burger was just icing on the cake.

It may seem like a waste to take time off when you are working from home. I can say that it is not. Sleep in, do the chores that you want to do, but cannot find time for in real life. Set the bar low and remember how good it feels to achieve simple goals. Most of all, live as slowly as you can. Road trips give me new experiences but most of life is just doing the daily routine. A week of doing it purposely really helped.

Pandemic Education

My twin boys needed English 12 to graduate from high school this year. One wanted to take the online option offered by our school district. The other wanted to attend classes at the high school. I have not seen one model from an accredited institution that allowed for a return to school this year. We encouraged the boys to join their sister at a regional college campus for the year. They typically have decent online learning management systems (LMS) in place.

The university called it last month. The fall semester will be online. I live in a purple state. It is populated by red (Republican), but is still human enough to side with blue (Democrat) when our family is on the line. If I were to bet, I would put money on the spring semester being online too. The red state aspect will prevent many from getting a flu shot next month.

What Would I do Differently?

This seems like a good time for a universal gap year. The children of the wealthy enjoy a year abroad after high school. As a country we can afford to implement a tax on compensation beyond one million per year, and use it to pay for a universal dividend until 2022. I have been a fan of online training, asynchronously, for a while now. Let everyone do that in real time for a year. If they want synchronous, fine. We learn in our own way.

I suspect that I would just take the kids on a month long backpacking trip. A few hundred miles of family time so they would believe that they can overcome anything that the universe throws at them. The weeks that I have spent just going to the next campsite have influenced everything that I do today. Accepting the present is not what we are taught today. It is what we need to deal with tomorrow.