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  • Writer's pictureVicky Keston

When Distance Learning Crashes Your Home

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

You can’t do it all. It bears repeating; you cannot work two full time jobs, i.e., work outside the home and oversee a young child’s education. Teachers are wonderful and are not easy to replicate at home. In reality, some kids adapt well to distance learning, while others have Zoom rage, miss their friends, and are out of sorts. Many of us have internet connections that are pushed to their limits with multiple kids trying to video conference at the same time. Parents and kids are on edge. 

When we read stories of survival from much worse situations, such as war or natural disasters, people never complain that their academics suffered. They talk about the emotional scars from their traumas. 

My priority, given the pandemic, for the school year; our family’s emotional health. This priority requires flexibility. Academics can be caught up, and kids can learn in the interim other things by reading, drawing, playing, cooking and helping with chores. I firmly believe that kids require us to meet their essential needs of shelter and food, which means parents will work whatever jobs are necessary to keep our families’ financial health. Beyond that, any achievement is gravy. Some preparations we are making to help cope this school year:

  • Exercise each day. We started a daily family walk for 30 minutes. We had a 10 foot trampoline and, with the camp refunds, purchased gymnastic equipment for our garage to replace gymnastic lessons. The gymnastics bar, for safety, is the most solid that I could find. Obtain books to supplement school. My daughter loves to read. My son prefers graphic novels. Our orders include a writing box set that includes a journal with prompts, poetry writing book, government book to learn about elections, graphic novel versions of great classics, RBG’s biography, Hidden Figures young reader edition, and a kid’s reference about literary analysis

  • Organize a coop or regular play date with my children’s closest friends. For my kids, the lack of social time caused the biggest mood issues.

  • Address bedtime, meal time, water, and other physical needs. Easier said than done! We are trying to eat better, and I’m involving the kids in cooking. With our doctor’s input, we bought melatonin gummies (not linked so you can ask your own medical professional).

  • Offer my elementary schooler a choice of academic activities. Zoom classes, while well intentioned, don't always work for her. Share those expectations with school, and empower my children to leave their cameras off, both for privacy and internet bandwidth.

  • Subscribed to a science kit for the kids to do hands on chemistry, and we may add physics later. We have some tinker kits, art supplies on hand for them to create, and recycling for free tinker.

  • Chose fun apps that gamify learning. We found a math subscription, language arts, and more math.

  • Organized a space for each child to work. As described in my last blog entry, we set up a space for each kid.

  • Most importantly, lowering my standards of what it means to thrive.

Need more help?

Vicky consults with families to help select public and private schools in San Francisco in an environment of non-judgment. Her own children have attended both public and private schools, and she believes that each has unique benefits. Email to learn more about her services.

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