Part of the exercise would include creating strategies and fun ways to recall formulas and phrases from textbooks.
That’s how we made a “Magic Hat” capable of giving us the power of “Mega Memory and Universal Knowledge.” Joaquin would wear the hat as part of our studying ritual.
As the Covid-19 pandemic upended many lives, I saw parents sharing stories on social media about how helping their kids with homework and supporting them with daily tasks became tedious.
And if I’m being honest, I looked at those comments from parents with a bit of envy, wishing that I could have similar moments with my son. It’s been three years since Joaquin was shot four times inside his Parkland school, and I would do anything to go back to my homework assisting days. I would change my actual reality for just one hug, a simple conversation or a chess game with my son. I would give anything for the opportunity to study for hours on a 24/7 shift basis to make certain that the most precious human to me in the world is safe. But, I know I can’t.
I know: In ordinary times it can be difficult for parents and caregivers to muster the energy and patience children need on a daily basis, so I can understand how adding that struggle to the stress and hardship of Covid-19 for more than a year was challenging. Few Americans thought that supplementing our children’s education would become part of our daily job. We were simply not trained for it — for the improvising, nimbleness and patience, and for many it was a learning process. Our kids had to deal with a “homemade” learning system that left many of them behind academically, emotionally and psychologically.
For families like mine that have been impacted by school shootings, the lull in school shootings because of the lockdown is a moment that shouldn’t be ignored.
Some may read this, roll their eyes and dismiss this as a preposterous idea that ignores the realities for families.
There is no question that home schooling and virtual learning is much more demanding and hands-on. It’s about more than simply helping with homework; it requires full-time attention on our kids and their learning process. For many, the experience of virtual school has exposed how necessary it is for children to experience in-person school — physical presence in the classroom is a must-have balance for so many in the pursuit of a happy family.
But those schools need to be safe.
Now kids are returning to classrooms, but at what risk? A risk that perhaps could completely obliterate a family’s joy and stability. I urge all parents to keep this at the front of their minds and hold their elected officials accountable.
It’s too late for me to save my beautiful son.
But it’s not too late for most of you. Maybe you should start prioritizing your kids’ safety by keeping them home from school, over the possibility of planning a funeral using the money you saved for college to cover the expenses.
Today, I vote for a complete extension of the lockdown until we approve all gun sales regulations needed to keep our kids safe inside their schools. I wish all parents could wear Joaquin’s “Magic Hat” so they could acquire “Mega Memory” and never forget what happened in Parkland on Valentine’s Day in 2018.