The Rayburn Family: When Bring Your Child to Work Day Becomes the New Normal


[caption id="attachment_11752" align="alignright" ]Imogene Imogene, age 6, is in kindergarten.[/caption]
Academic life, for many families, has become uncharted territory. Kids have been displaced from the familiar comfort of their traditional classrooms, while parents have been dropped into a world of working full-time and overseeing their children's education.
I would like to officially introduce myself to the LSS community and share my story. My name is Maureen Rayburn, and I am the Marketing & Communication Strategist at Laurel Springs School—I'm also a mom with two young daughters (Cassidy, 8, and Imogene, 6) who attend public school. Our day-to-day life—just like the lives of so many others—has been rocked by COVID-19, and it's a huge adjustment to constantly have my kids by my side, struggling through a never-ending Take Your Child to Work Day. Their teachers are accustomed to a traditional school setting, and they're doing the best they can to keep kids engaged with the curriculum, and we're really striving to support their efforts. But it's all falling short.

Success Looks Different Now

Now for some real talk. Our family hasn't really been that successful at keeping up on the live class meetings or the lessons their hardworking teachers have put together—at least not without some serious meltdowns. Let me put it this way—my daughters both have separate Zoom meetings with their teachers at 9:30 every day, but I have a team meeting at 9:15. Plus, Cassidy has a second daily meeting in the afternoons. Between unreliable technology, a full schedule, and a lot of competing priorities, something's got to give. It's not sustainable.
But there is a glimmer of hope for our family, and it's not necessarily what I expected. I'm not longing for the day they go back to school...and neither are they. The girls are still learning, but not by hustling to endless online meetings and printing out worksheets. Instead, by removing the walls of the classroom, my children are figuring out how to follow their passions, even in small ways—they have the time to explore things they love. They're slowly learning to speak up for themselves and question things in the spirit of learning. It's fascinating, but it needs to look and feel different than it does in the midst of this pandemic. Don't get me wrong—our school district is incredible, and we are so appreciative of the work that the staff and faculty have put into the entire curriculum—but the current situation is not ideal for anyone.
[caption id="attachment_11751" align="alignleft" ]Cassidy Cassidy, age 8, is in 2nd grade.[/caption]

Jumping Right In

Shortly after the COVID-19 quarantine began, I began to wonder if a Laurel Springs education could work for us. I mean—I work here, but just like so many other parents, I hadn't considered that an online private school could be a great choice for younger students. Heck, I've read (and written about) countless amazing stories from Laurel Springs families, but it had never occurred to me that we could be one of them.
A light bulb went off in my head. Laurel Springs is a well-oiled machine. They're set up to help natural learners succeed, without the constraints of the classroom. I know this already! I see it every day!
In their traditional school, Cassidy and Imogene took Spanish classes at 2nd grade and kindergarten levels, respectively. They miss the fun of learning a new language—the online version of their current education doesn't have the same sort of interactive instruction as it did in the classroom. What if they could recapture that fun by trying out a K-2 Spanish summer course at Laurel Springs?
I spoke to Stacy Geyer, our Senior Admissions Manager, about my idea. Is it possible to just...dip our toes into this? Can we get a feel for whether they're suited to learning online by taking a summer class? We have to make remote learning work right now no matter what—why not put some shape around this new normal by enrolling them for a single course? Maybe it's the perfect time to give it a shot.
Stacy and I had a long conversation, and she said, "It sounds like Cassidy and Imogene are eager learners. The opportunity to work through a Spanish class at their own pace might really benefit them—it's something they can't do in the traditional classroom. Also, you can totally blend the class responsibilities into your current lifestyle."

Let's Do This

We're going for it. Cassidy and Imogene are now enrolled in their first online class at Laurel Springs. We decided to do a 6-week K-2 Spanish course, which is the equivalent of one semester in a regular school year.
Over the next several weeks, I am going to blog about our journey. I have no idea what to expect.
I'm sure there will be struggles.
I'm sure we'll have missteps.
However, I'm really hoping that Bring Your Child to Work Day: Pandemic Edition becomes a success story for our family because of Laurel Springs, and in the coming weeks, I will share with you the reality of having elementary school-age children enrolled in their first online course.
(Cross your fingers for me!)

Want to read more about the Rayburn Family? Check out the other blog posts below.

The Rayburn Family: An Online Summer Class for Our Kindergarten Student