What parents in the Methow Valley School District have been waiting for all summer finally arrived last Friday. The options were laid out elegantly as to how the school can commence under three scenarios: a hybrid small group-in class/online system, a fully online school, or a homeschool program with district guidance. I would like to point out, that all of these choices are a majority-based homeschool scenario, that has put everyone in a sea of utter uncertainty about how to weigh the choices.
Having options is good. But of course, having options means making a decision. Decision-making has become more complicated in the past few months, and indeed in our information-based world, more complex.
There’s about a whole science to decision-making that falls within the realms of psychology and economics. While we’d like to consider our decisions to be rational, most of the time they are not. Economics and psychologists have won Nobel prizes proving this, so I won’t. But essentially, people are more likely to avert a loss than choose a gain, even if the gain is larger than the loss. We are in effect driven by fear, we are risk-averse.
On the flip side, those who are not wearing masks are victims of complacency — the risk doesn’t seem personal enough to warrant action or they are weighing the risk over the benefit and have made what seems like a rational decision to them.
Kids, on the other hand, may be the best judge of how to go about this decision. My kids have repeatedly told me, “mom, you are not a good homeschool teacher.” Great, so that settles that. Online learning. The last thing they need is more screen time. So, for this family, we are holding out for the hybrid option, until there’s a stay-at-home order the choice for us is clear.
I am heartbroken that my kids may not be in classrooms with their friends and teachers. I am heartbroken the sixth-grade campout isn’t happening for my kiddo who has looked forward to it for six years. I am heartbroken that farmworkers are getting sick, despite the public awareness, safety equipment and hygiene measures. I am heartbroken that people are still resisting mask-wearing in public. I am heartbroken, because above all, the most essential business is our children and they are getting the short end of the stick here.