Well, we did it – to all the parents that are new to this distance learning thing with their children. Job well done! Week one is in the bag, and I must admit, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. There are a lot of parents who have turned to homeschooling their children even before this lockdown, so they have a slight advantage over the rest of us. I have two kids; my son is in third grade and my daughter in seventh, so I have two different sets of work to oversee. I know, the thought of it can become overwhelming, which was my mindset exactly one week ago today.
I am a lot more optimistic entering our second week, though, and I’ll tell you why. Both my kids use a computer in the normal course of learning at their schools, so this wasn’t much of a change for them. The challenge was for me to organize which subject matter they work on, when, and for what length of time. The weekly schedule my son’s teacher sends out really helped with that, and I allow him the freedom to spend the same amount of time that would be allocated to a specific subject as if he were at school. My daughter has this online learning process down to a T, so I just stay out of her way and allow her to do what she usually does during a routine school day.
While they are busy working, I’m writing at the same table to provide guidance, ensuring they stay focused, and to answer any questions that they may have. In other words, I allow them to take the lead as much as possible while I am there as a sidekick – well, kind of. Keeping them focused is a constant challenge; my son distracts himself all the time and thus distracts his sister. They both become fidgety every 30 minutes, so we put together a workout routine and added it to our daily bike ride time, which allows them to burn off more energy.
My son asks most of the questions. I think that’s because he is not focusing as much as he should. Luckily for me, the questions are easily answered by going over the instructions and reading the questions with him a second time, slowly. He also tries to move on to another subject before he has fully completed what he is currently working on. That habit we will break before classes resume.
Honestly, I get nervous when my daughter says she has a question or needs some help. After reading any subject question she has an issue with, I’m like, “What type of work are they giving seventh graders?” She shrugs her shoulders with a smile. But me being the dad, I can’t tell her I don’t know the answer, so we re-read the question and go over each answer choice one by one. Since I am a sidekick without superpowers as most sidekicks are, we use a process I like that’s called eliminating the obviously incorrect answers. Most times it works and other times not. At that point, I would have to call on an old friend. Then after much searching and consultations, we would come up with the correct answer. Thanks, Google.
I can’t forget to say thank you to all their teachers who send emails and reach out to ensure this process is as smooth as possible. Even though students are stuck at home engaging in distance learning, the teachers are still doing their part to keep all students up to date and are not allowing any to fall behind. Teachers continue to do an awesome job, and I would like to express my gratitude and state that I will be your sidekick throughout the remainder of this situation.