As a mother of three children and a student myself, I find myself in a questionable situation during the coronavirus outbreak. Homeschooling.
I have two teenage boys and I have struggled with them to complete homework assignments for years. I have taken away privileges and given consequences with substandard results. They have made improvement but now they are expected to do all their schoolwork at home, and it is overwhelming. We have two separate, two-hour sessions of school per day. That’s the longest they can focus and most of that time probably isn’t productive because I’m not looking over their shoulder. They don’t want me to help them or prioritize for them although I’ve found it’s necessary for adequate progress. They get mad and tell me to go away. I refuse to push the issue to the point where everyone is mad. We have to be quarantined together for God knows how long.
I’ve seen enough on the internet and have enough common sense to know I’m not the only one struggling. I’ve seen videos of older kids taking bong hits during class and this morning a kid in my daughter’s fifth grade class was playing Roblox during their daily meeting. I read an article in which they asked kids how they liked online school and their responses confirmed my fears. The younger kids said it was okay, but they really missed their friends and recess. My fifth grader has been doing alright with the online material. However, she has voiced her sadness that she can’t go to school like she used to. The older kids in the article just echoed what I’ve been saying to myself all along. Six or seven teachers are assigning a week’s worth of work. Unless your student sits at the kitchen table for six hours a day, it is impossible to do all these assignments.
What bothers me the most is that we have not been given a definitive plan for how these kids are going to be able to transition to the next school year. What about those kids that have had no contact with their teachers or those that don’t have the resources to complete school at home? Will there be some sort of test? Will all this hard work and anguish be for nothing?
I was able to ask some of these questions to my son’s sophomore history teacher. He stated there are plans in the works. He could not confirm anything but suggested that all students would be responsible for their grades and if they had no internet access, they are expected to pick their work up at the school.
It’s hard for me to motivate my children when I don’t know the answers to those questions and, frankly, I’m getting mixed messages. Today I got an update from the principal of my daughter’s elementary school just reassuring parents that they understand the struggles we are facing and I appreciate that. I am extremely grateful to the teachers for doing their best within their new boundaries. Parents have received emails from the school district acknowledging how hard this quarantine has been on the children and that it is common to see increased behavioral issues and signs of depression. Meanwhile, I’ve been informed that my high school students might fail if they don’t make this work. We have had to create a new normal with the hopes that life will return to the way it was.
If this is going to be an issue for a few years we might be better served going to an online education system mimicking many colleges. One course at a time, students can engage in their learning without feeling overwhelmed by the five other projects they need to find time for. The online college I attend has only had minor testing setbacks. Did you forget I was a student? I did, too. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Happy homeschooling.