We have been doing distance learning for about a month now. It has been quite an adjustment, but I think we are doing better with it than we were at the beginning.
Before distance learning started, we did some homeschooling at home. A lot of people thought this was a little weird because we had a schedule and had things planned for the day. But we don’t do well just winging it. None of us do. I would have just given them iPads all day and read a book or played on my phone (which I did a lot of at the beginning following the news as everything was changing by the hour). So we made a schedule (the kids made their own daily schedule and lunch menus) and adjusted when need be. It was so fun to see them so enthusiastic and willing to make these changes. And we are still using the lunch chart – we are on week 1 for the 2nd time 😁.
After a couple weeks of homeschooling, the teachers were ready to start distance learning. At the beginning it was very overwhelming and we struggled at lot. Everyone was frustrated, there were a lot of tears and I was really worried about how we would do this long-term.
After about a month, as I said, things are much better. The girls have gotten into a good groove about what they need to accomplish and they are getting everything done like they should. Their school work is getting done in the mornings before lunch and then we do other activities in the afternoon. We go outside, watch movies, play Minecraft, play games, have quiet time, build LEGO, have screen time, or just be creative with their toys. It’s been working out really well. And aside from a question here and there, they don’t need my help very much now that they have learned how their programs work.
On the question note, I have really been trying not to help them very much with their work. I have been encouraging them to ask their teachers if they don’t understand something, because that is what they would be doing at school. And that is not me being lazy. I would have a tendency to help too much or do more for them than I should. And that doesn’t benefit then at all. And it helps them to communicate with their teachers as well.
So the girls are doing well with this (they are in 3rd grade and 1st grade). My little guy (who will be in Kindergarten next year) has been having a little bit of a harder time. It is hit and miss about what he wants to do. The excitement has worn off for him. He will only work on activities for a few minutes at a time, says he wants to see his friends, and it is hit or miss whether he actively participates in virtual meetings with his class. The girls went through this as well, and now he is catching up and realizing this is what life is going to be for a while. After the girls are done with school work, though, he’s much better when he can play with them. So, I do what I can with him and try to make him excited, but we are just working with it and adjusting as we go.
Now that we have been told that this will continue for the rest of the school year (which I already expected and had been preparing the kids for this as well), it kind of feels like a relief in a way. Just to know what will be happening and we can move forward with this.
I definitely commend the teachers for all their hard work. I know it’s a strange time for them as well. I think they are doing the best they can and I’m thankful we have teachers who are involved and are very dedicated to their kids. I have heard that some other people aren’t having as good of an experience as we are. We have good and bad days and I am sure they do as well. Technology doesn’t always do what we want it to and problems arise. But the teachers have been really good above having some lenience and making sure the kids know that they are doing well and it’s ok if things aren’t perfect.
As I said the other day, I think there will be some lasting changes from this. I am not looking forward to tearing my kids away from screens when all of this is done. I feel like that is a huge downfall of all of this right now. They are just so addicted to screens. Getting outside as much as possible has definitely been helping and I am thankful this didn’t all happen in the dead of winter. The walks and sunshine (or PE time) have been great!
If (when?) we have another pandemic, teachers (and kids) will be prepared for it and have a better idea how to work remotely. I also think that this has the possibility to drastically change school in the future. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have kids do work online instead of cancelling school on snow-days. Or kids could do some work from home if they are sick and not fall behind. I think this could be a very positive thing for schools in the future.
How is distance learning going for you and your kids? Are there ages you think are well-suited for this? Ages that aren’t?