We survived the first week of distance learning (DL) in a new school, a new district and living in a temporary house. It’s been a whirlwind week with a few struggles here and there. Overall, things are going really well.
This week has been crazy to say the least. While we opted to start school in the DL format, there are many others who are starting in a hybrod model or going back full time in-person. Nothing about this 2020 school year is normal. It’s not normal for the kids or teachers in any form. But everyone is doing the best they can with the options they have been given.
I am so proud of the kids and how resilent they have been through all of this and all of the changes they are going through. School being drastically different is a challenge on its own. But since we are overachievers (read: insane), we like to add in a couple other fun twists. Like building a house which means we are living in temporary housing right now while our house progress continues. These kids miss their toys and their beds and their stuff. And even with all these changes, they are doing so well.
Since the kids aren’t riding the bus this year, we replaced bus riding with making their beds and making sure their rooms are clean. This is to get in the habit of taking care of their things as well as havinga nice background for their zoom meetings. It’s not ideal for them to be in their rooms, but it’s working really well. The girls have a lot of various zoom meetings throughout the day and this way they can have a quiet space and don’t need to be wearing headphones the whole day. Alex and I are in the dining room so I can help him when he needs it.
Their schedules are all different based on their grades and their teachers. Maddie (4th grade) has some classes she does synchronously (she watches from a zoom meeting while the teacher is in class with other students). This type of class has been the most challenging and been a little harder to get used to. Some classes it works pretty well for, but others have been a bit more of a struggle. I was happy to see that some adjustments are being made to help make the experience better for everyone involved. One of the reasons Maddie’s classes are like this is because starting in 5th grade in our district, she will be in middle school. So they do a number of things in 4th grade to help get the kids prepared. They were trying to accomplish this with DL as well, but are finding it’s not as seamless as they were hoping. It has only been 4 days, though and we were finally getting the hang of things. I don’t know why the changes were made, but we are just going to go with the flow!
For Dannie (2nd grade), she works with one teacher during the day. She has a number of zoom meetings throughout the day and her teacher has the largest class for DL. I think she has 17 kids. This works pretty well actually because the teacher has a chance to really get to know the kids. She is going to be breaking the kids into groups for reading and math to have some more individualized attention, which is something that would have been happening in class as well. I’m also really happy with how her teacher has been doing things because other than a few hiccups with connecting the first day, Dannie has been able to do everything on her own without much help.
The downfall to this is that she doesn’t need any help. She has been a little bit lonely this past week because she hasn’t been in my pocket constantly. But she is slowly getting better with this adjustment as well and we are making some little changes here and there to help her feel less lonely (she does some zoom meetings with me and Alex - even if that means wearing headphones, spending indpendent time with us instead of working on them alone in her room). She loves her teacher and has been having a great time in school so far.
Alex was made for Kindergarten. He just loves it. He loves his teacher and has been vocal and good at sharing and participating in class. He is eager to learn and is so excited to have homework and assignments. I am quite impressed at how well he has been able to pick up Seesaw and the other apps he has started using. I shouldn’t be that surprised since kids can navigate iPads so easily these days. But man it’s impressive!
He happily starts the zoom meetings at his scheduled times and is the first to say “hello” to his teacher. It makes me happy that he’s loving it so much! He follows along with instructions and listens so intently. It just makes me so happy.
And it wouldn’t be the first week of school without someone falling asleep. I went up to help Maddie with a class and came down to find Alex zonked out in a chair. It was so sweet. When we woke him up he said “I’m just so tired!” I know, buddy. We all are!
There is definitely going to be a learning curve doing DL and we know that we are the guinea pigs for everyone. I am certain we will all end up DL at some point this year. So we will just help them work out all the kinks for everyone else. Then it should be running nice and smoothly by the time everyone else needs to do it.
Best of luck to all the parents out there helping their kids in this new time. And THANK YOU to all the teachers out there who are working so hard to help make this year fun and educational while they are teaching in a way they never expected or could have imagined.
- Have your kids started school yet?
- Which way are your kids starting the year - DL, Hybrid, in-person?
- Are you trying to work while your kids are learning at home?
- How is it going for you, your kids and your family?