Online School Reels.

Most of our children returned to school a couple of weeks now either to a hybrid, full remote learning, synchronous learning, asynchronous learning, or in person. It’s been a roller coaster over here whilst working full-time with a 7th grade, 3rd grade, kindergarten, and preschool scholars. My older girls settled in as if it was part of their daily routine but it was a bit of a struggle with my kindergartner. It was like we were in a Cambridge class……………. Her teacher came prepared for us, and we love it. But is it easy? NO

Online education that leaves almost everybody behind except for highly motivated students, to me, can’t be a viable path to education.

Sebastian Thrun

This blog post is to acknowledge the fact that remote learning has not been easy especially for our young scholars. Even though it was the wisest thing to do given the circumstances, I’m a little concerned about our scholars. Are they really getting impacted or just getting by? When they are unable to understand a concept either through the teacher’s ability to connect, distractions, or internet connection issues, how do we bridge such gaps? Especially when both parents work or a single mom that still has to make ends meet.

During a survey I recently conducted, 59.6% of parents do not like remote learning, 21.1% love it and 19.3% are indifferent. Concerns raised were;

  1. Most of the scholars find it difficult to concentrate, especially the younger ones. Their attention span is very short and so they get easily distracted and bored. The older ones are however not left out, they open another browser to visit other sites to play games and watch movies or just chat away on their phones, while their class is going on!
  2. Face to face and hands-on learning is better for kids. Yes, it is pretty challenging to get them really engaged and having fun while learning, but it is definitely doable. So my daughter in kindergarten is doing all the hands-on activities because her teacher was super prepared. Even though she just had a baby, a week to their resumption, she worked so hard to record videos for every class, printed all their work materials(over a 100 pages), and bought materials like a short pencil for pincer grip, a magnifying glass, play dough, counters, glitter, laminated materials………..and so much more. It is a lot of work but so worth it.
  3. Scholars are not able to socialize. So there is little or no room for socializing. There is less room for dialogue, conflict resolution, sharing, taking turns and all other social skills they learn through interaction with others. Education is not only about academics, but all-encompassing – Holistic form of learning.
  4. The blue light from the computer. Scholars are spending more time in front of the computer more than ever before. The blue light penetrates all the way to the retina (the inner lining of the back of the eyes). It can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina. Our research revealed that spending a long time in front of computers, phones or tablets can lead to headaches, eye squinting, and blurry vision. Before the outbreak of coronavirus, there are so many children using glasses, I just hope it won’t be worse by the time we come out of this. I got my daughter’s blue light glasses to use while they are using their computers. The tinted lenses with anti-glare protection help protect children’s eyes from too much exposure to the blue light. Get for your scholars here.
  5. Lack of internet or unstable internet. The success of online learning truly depends on the availability and quality of the internet connection. There are times when the classes have been canceled due to either zoom or other application failures. Once, I had to log out and in again for my daughter to be able to view her teacher’s screen.
  6. Taking endless bathroom breaks. So when the scholars get bored, they begin to take countless bathroom breaks that hinder them from taking in the full instruction thereby missing out on important elements of the lessons.
A chart (graphical representation of data) shared by parents for remote learning.

Amid the chaos has also been humor. A friend of mine accidentally filled out her first name as the son’s first name on the registration form and so when classes resumed his teacher started calling him by the mom’s first name. She was initially shocked but soon found out the mistake came from her. I laughed so hard tears were rolling down my face.

More from the survey, “My younger son put a sign on the door, “I’m in class”. His door is always locked during class. He comes out at times to tell me I’m too loud. So I stay in my room to talk on the phone. I text his siblings sometimes instead of calling out their names when I need them. 😀 My friend told me her son fell asleep during instruction and continued sleeping even after the class ended”. 😀

“Watching my daughters do their physical education via zoom is hilarious”.

“I slept off during remote learning. I’m sure you know the consequences”.

‘I have two kids, one in 1st grade and the other in 4th grade, whenever their baby brother is crying they want to carry him while they are in class and my son complains about his eyes due to the long use of computer’.

Remote learning
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No doubt some teachers have done their research and are really trying to connect and impact the scholars but truth be told, some so many teachers are still struggling and just trying to keep up. Which brings me to the question, how can we help as parents, especially if this persists for a longer time?

  • Extra tutoring – You and I will have to either have to create more time to sit down with and tutor our scholars by going over topics that were taught in school to create reinforcement and ensure understanding is achieved or hire a personal tutor to do the extra tutoring. Someone even suggested a learning pod of about 4 to 6 kids with a hired tutor, which sounds like a great idea.
  • Create a dedicated space void of noise and distraction. Get all the needed materials ready before classes start. Take them outside during breaks and limit bathroom breaks.
  • I am personally considering quitting my job and homeschooling my girls full time if this persists. I got so many survey responses like this as well.
  • Pray – The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Continue to bring take your concerns to God no matter how little or irrelevant it may seem. Our God is interested and takes delight in the tiniest details of our life.

In conclusion, you are not alone in the quest of adjusting to this new normal as you have read. I will love to read about your experiences as well in the comment section below. Be safe!

2 Responses on this post

  1. Great write up. I personally can not wait to get these children back to school where they can develop social, interactive skills, and make new friends. Academics is not the only thing school is for.

    My son is in Kindergarten and eventhough he looks forward to his teacher popping up on his little chrome book, he still comes to me to tell me how bored he is when he is done with his assignments.

    I do not believe these kids are getting personalised assessments to help tailor their learning to them through virtual classes. I think they are being put into groups that generalise them.

    This is certainly not the education I foresaw when I was planning my son’s 1st day at school.

    My daughter on the other hand, is in 5th grade and all she cares about is when she gets to meet and play with her friends again.

    I think there is consequences we will have to bare for this virtual learning soon. The extent if the consequences, we do not know yet, but the sooner we get back to normalcy, the easier it will be.

    Love Tiwa

    1. Wow! You said it all. The teachers are not even in a hurry to go back. May God help us and our children. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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