It is an expensive option for families in terms of money and time, but on social media groups of mothers, it begins to circulate as an alternative to the current state of uncertainty.
In mothers’ forms on social media, it is already September. For a few days, in fact, threads that collect hundreds of comments have been chasing each other, mainly on Facebook, to discuss school reopening.
An inter-locution – that in the groups – almost exclusively female, which more than many studies marks the very close gender correlation between parent and relationship with the school: as indeed the Bicocca University has just certified, the weight of the school lockdown has weighed on almost exclusively on mothers, and it is certainly also for this reason (which is combined with the fear of having to leave work to be able to follow their children at home) that online groups are swarming with posts and comments from mothers who anticipate the reopening of mothers by a month. schools.
“How do you think it will go?” – asks the first post – “As soon as seasonal colds begin to circulate, the children will have to stay at home. They will end up going to school one day yes and ten no “.
“But if they are always at home, how do we do it?” – replies another – “I have no grandparents and I just have to work“. “I have grandparents” – adds yet another – “but if they send him back home with suspicious symptoms, I can’t leave him with them. With what heart do I put them at risk? But if I don’t earn 100% of my salary, we won’t be able to make it to the end of the month: we can’t go on leave”.
The fear that children could get sick with Covid-19, particularly among the mothers of younger ones, does not particularly shine through in these groups. This is not about denial, however, so much so that none of the visible comments question the existence of the coronavirus, but everyone is concerned about a reality perceived as closer, more contingent: the possibility of reconciling work and the economy familiar with managing children. In addition to this, which understandably appears to be the main concern, the need for a guarantee of well-being in the quality of the children’s time peeps out (“If symptoms emerge at school do they put him in isolation? In the sense that they leave him alone until I can go to take? But he’s three!“) And political criticism (“What have they done in recent months?“).
None of the members, however, seem to have concrete answers. There are those who speak of generic protests and those who are imagining to move children to private schools. But the discussion is especially heated between parents who intend to leave their children in public school and advocates of homeschooling.
It is interpreted by some as a family education (it is one of the parents – that is, guess what, almost always the mother – to take care of teaching the children), in other cases instead small groups are created managed by one or more educators, in informal contexts. For some time now widely represented in some European countries and in the United States, Maltese home schooling was never popular or practised but seems to draw particular strength from the current situation of uncertainty. In fact, mutual aid groups are multiplying for those who want to create a homeschooling context, and even in the comments to generic posts there is often someone who proposes the family alternative to education.
However – as for private schools – it is above all a privileged choice : homeschooling always has a cost (direct, if you pay operators, or indirect if you stay at home with your children) and cannot become a widespread practice. also because it provides parents with a strong organisational capacity and a medium-high school competence, as well as spending. Hence, if for some home schooling is a proposal to be rejected for economic reasons, for others the question becomes political: “I don’t want to have anything to do with home schooling” – replies a mother –“First of all because I want my children to also attend a world not selected by me, and then because public school must be supported for everyone, both for those who can choose and for those who cannot “.
It is undeniable, however, that the current situation of uncertainty will only reinforce the ranks of those seeking a personal solution to a collective problem. “ I have learned that the problem of others is the same as mine. Sorting them all together is political. Sorting it out on your own is avarice”, and it is evident that families insist on seeking an answer from the public even when they could opt for expensive family solutions. On the other hand, it is completely unimaginable that a society can hold up for months with a situation of continuous opening and closing of school structures., not only from an economic point of view, but also or above all from a psychological point of view, both in relation to children and adults.
The appeal to a school medicine system equipped with swabs with rapid response and as precise as possible did not find much space in the mothers’ chats at the beginning, but it is now often re-launched even by professionals. Today it seems to be the only real possibility to avoid an autumn that would strike like a sword of Damocles on the well-being of the little ones and their parents, especially the most fragile ones.
For months, on the other hand, we have been discussing spaces, shifts, desks, masks, bubble groups and distances: all complicated, often expensive, sometimes anti-pedagogical solutions, which crash one after the other against the wall of inapplicability in the elephantine world. and school complex. It is a paradoxical, unacceptable situation that is widening the chasm of trust between parents and school : a consequence that should be at the top of the Miur’s concerns.
A country is measured by the effectiveness of its public school. The skepticism with which mothers and fathers have been observing possible solutions to the health emergency for months should find an immediate, strong and credible response, because the risk is to create widespread and irrecoverable distrust. Don Milani’s aphorism should guide politics, even before individual parents: those who work for the public good have the duty to find solutions so that problems – even those enormously complex such as a global epidemic v – can all be overcome together.