There’s a campaign going around. The thinking goes, if a critical mass of people send a letter of intent to homeschool, it can change our region’s decision to close schools. Either that, or they can face losing funding.

At first glance, for me anyway, it seems like a good idea. A way to get our voices heard. To advocate for our kids and their education.

I was so tempted I even emailed the letter to myself to fill out later.

After all, I want my kids back in the classroom as much as the next parent. I have a Junior Kindergartener who cries when I sit her in front of her virtual classroom. This is a kid that LOVES school, loves her teachers, loves her friends and is super social. But on the screen? She just can’t connect.

I have a child with learning disabilities. After missing out on support for much of last year and this year, due to virtual learning, we had finally had a meeting with his teacher and a social worker to create a plan of action to make strides with what’s left of this grade school year. Now that plan is just dust blowing in the wind.

I have another child who, if things continue this way for much longer, will miss out on sleepover camp in the summer and his Grade 8 graduation celebration next year. If the neighbourhood kids are any indication, he’ll have to watch re-runs of TV sitcoms to get a glimpse of what high school and college are really like, while my blood boils at the thought of the tuition money I’m spending for what can barely pass as University-level education. After all, how demanding can those professors be when our kids have been in and out of school for years?

It’s enough to make this mom throw up her hands and give up on it all. Which is what I’ve already threatened to do. Costa Rica is looking better by the minute, and like the T-shirt says, “Life is better at the beach.”

Except moving to Costa Rica was never my dream. Nor was home schooling.

If I could wave a magic wand I would make things exactly like they were over a year ago, before the pandemic hit and the first shutdowns took place. Sure things weren’t perfect, but at least we could count on the consistency of our schools and education and a somewhat less bleek future for our kids. There’s nothing like a school yard full of children playing and laughing with their friends, under the loving gaze of their teachers and administrators.

So leaders, if you’re listening, please return our kids to in-class learning. People have always had the opportunity to file the letter of intent to homeschool if that doesn’t work for them. But to deny the rest of us the alternative, when there are 0 cases at my kids’ schools and in my community, seems just plain unfair. Not to mention unreasonable, irresponsible, and impractical.

In fact, judging by the way the last year has gone, I’d say we need schools and quality education more than ever. Our future depends on it.

Cat lives in Ontario, Canada


Cat Margulis is a Toronto writer and super (tired) mom of four. She's working on her first novel, launching her own podcast The Passion Project, and generally trying to do and have it all. You can see how she does it @catmargulis and @passionprojectpod on Instagram.

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