Here’s a “fun” open thread for today: How is school going for you and your kids? Are you doing in-person at all or just remote? Do you feel like it’s substantially different (in a good or bad way) than last spring?
For my $.02, things are … not great. My kids are both doing remote-only and both hate the zillions of hours they have to spend on Zoom. (Some days it’s almost seven hours.) My oldest (4th grade) calls it “solitary confinement” but at least seems to somewhat like the work and teacher. (I am only assuming this, because if he did NOT like the work or teacher I would hear about it nonstop.)
My youngest (first grade) hates Zoom and the work. I often sit with him during his Zoom calls, and they are painful — the teacher is a fan of asking the kids to go around in a round-robin format but she has to try to get the attention of each kid, find them in Zoom, and make sure that the speaker (and only the speaker) is unmuted. So what should be a short, quick activity ends up being a painful 20 minutes trying to listen for your kiddo’s name to be called. (To her credit, though, she does go in alphabetical order so there’s some measure of predictability.)
My husband and I are still trying to juggle working from home and childcare (but we also are very grateful for help from our family with childcare!), although we’ve gotten better about sharing work hours.
How are things going with you guys? Do you like the direction school is going in this year? If there are things you like, please share those — especially some of the more clever things your district did to deal with the pandemic!
For us, I would say it’s going very well. My kids (K and 2nd) are in school full time, and things seem very smooth and surprisingly normal. I really thought that pushing kids that young to wear masks all day would be a nightmare, but I’m amazed at how quickly they got used to it – my kids say it’s not been a problem for kids in their classrooms or bus. There are a ton of other new sanitation protocols, but they seem to be doable.
The district has a “1:1” plan that gave each kid a laptop, which is sort of strange, and it seems like they’re doing a bit more on them during the day then I might have expected, but they’re still with other kids and a teacher in person.
A few schools in our district have had 1-2 week closures for outbreaks, but I haven’t heard of major problems with them. Here’s hoping.
Mine are also K and 2 but they are remote full time and it’s fine because my husband is in charge and has been really on them to set up a routine and stay focused etc. The week that I did it because we were quarantined was a disaster as they were sneaking off zoom etc. Their teachers are amazing. I don’t think they’re going to make the gains they would in person but they’re maintaining, staying engaged, etc.
My kindergartener is in a private, Catholic school, and the archdioces also provided a Chromebook for each student. The school is using Chromebooks during the day, even for K-2, so that the kids are used to the technology and (hopefully) more independent with it if/when school has to be remote for a while. In my son’s classroom, that means that one of the 4 “stations” the kids rotate through is a Chromebook station, where they do independent work but have teacher/floater support if they need it. If school has to be remote for a bit, they’ll send the Chromebooks home, and the kids will do a combination of synchronous learning via Zoom, in small groups, and independent, asynchronous learning via the Chromebook programs they’re already doing at school. Or at least, that appears to be the plan.
I think that’s more or less the plan and way it’s being used for us, too. I think it all makes sense, and obviously, they’ll have to get used to being chained to a computer sooner or later (!). I only meant that it was strange to me, as it was so different from what sounds normal to me as a child of the 80s. But I felt that way about school in a lot of ways even before the pandemic. I’m just old. :)
Mine is still in preschool, and doing just great with a mask all day. Our public schools opened full-time in person in mid-August and from everything I’ve heard it’s going great so far, the kids are complying with the safety procedures and thrilled to be back with peers even if it isn’t the same as before. There have been six total positive cases in our small-ish district so far, none linked to each other, so no classroom spread so far (and I believe four of the people tested positive before school even began). The community opted 70/30 for in-person vs. virtual learning for the fall semester, and so far I only know people who are switching from virtual to in-person for the spring, no one who is switching the opposite way. I do wish they had taken the university approach of ending in-person instruction at Thanksgiving, instead of trying to come back after the holiday weekend. I really worry that with all the gathering over the holiday weekend, there will be an explosion of cases 1-2 weeks later. I don’t know anyone who’s planning to attend a huge gathering over the holiday, but my understanding is that it’s mostly smaller family gatherings that are really driving the spread at this point and pretty much everyone I know is planning to see a few close friends or family members.
Toddler- back to daycare regular hours, mask optional (PK kids have to wear them, all staff wearing). Fine, no outbreaks, sick less overall.
4 year old- back to preschool in a mask, with higher tuition, smaller classes, and fewer hours. She’s very happy though.
1st grader- in hybrid mode. Takes the bus in a mask, 7 kids total on her bus. Full day of in person on M/Th. We send her to a local pod program 9-2 on Tuesday and Fridays ($500/month). On Wednesdays, the kids have half days and are fully remote.
Honestly the remote learning is busy work. But she loves the program she’s going to. It’s run by a local performing arts company. My kid was ahead of grade level last year and we aren’t really worried about academics…which is good because I doubt she’s learning anything. She is a whole new person getting out of the house though!!
My kids are doing gymnastics, ballet, tennis, soccer, musical theater & lacrosse. All in masks, all modified.
We are 100% virtual and it’s not great. First grader struggles to pay attention to the teacher, doesn’t like to do her work papers, and generally needs some peer pressure to do her stuff. Third grader is better.
They have lunch and gym at different times, so one is jumping around when the other is in say, math, and neither can run around with a sibling at lunch. Music is painful and also interrupts the other’s day. (As someone who has played an instrument for over 20 years, why music is required right now is beyond me.)
Still working through tech. Sometimes the workpaper isn’t in the packet and we can’t get it to print, sometimes the homework isn’t posted until late and we never saw it was due the next day, sometimes there’s feedback on a call and we’re told to log out and back in but can’t get back in (but we were the only one with that problem?).
Thankfully I have a spouse managing it, and I backfill, but it’s pretty painful for all involved.
Toddler (2) and kindergartener (almost 5) are both back full time in person. It’s going great. Toddler in daycare isn’t wearing a mask – the teachers are in masks and face shields (tbh with mixed compliance at different times), they screen every morning. Toddler lost a few days of daycare due to a runny nose, needed a COVID test (3 hour wait in line and 3 day turnaround for results) then 24 hours waiting period before he could go back. My kindergartener wears a mask on the bus, in hallways, and for a limited time in class during the day to practice. Teachers are all in masks. Lots of hand washing and sanitizing going on at every step, and the school is very strict about cohorting including on the school bus and outdoors in the playground. Some classes have moved to online learning temporarily due to a single case in each class (one family, 2 kids positive, one kid negative). I am half expecting a return to online learning for everyone in a month if we don’t turn our broader community numbers around but so far so good and it’s a dream to have them both out of the house all day so I can work!! So good for the kids to be back with their friends too.
My older one is doing 4 day per week DL plus one day asynchronous. The DL has been frustrating. As a parent I’m jumping through all of the hoops to get her ready to learn and signed on with working tech. But the teachers are still “building community” and “setting routines” which amounts to hours upon hours of sorting tech issues for other kids and pointless, boring group activities. My kid knows she isn’t learning anything, so every day I have to convince her to try again just in case today is the day they actually start teaching something. We were honestly better off during the summer when she spent a couple hours a day reading library books to herself.
My younger daughter’s pre-K closed for the school year (reopening in September 2021) so she’s home until kindergarten next fall. We’re doing our best to come up with learning activities, while also working FT, but these efforts have been significantly derailed with the effort that is required to keep the 2nd grader online and engaged.
All in all, it’s a ton of stress and worry for almost zero learning.
First, I have to say hats off to those with little ones. I don’t know how we would have coped if this happened when they were small. I have a 10th grader and things were ok at first, she goes in person 2 days a week, live online instruction one day and then 2 days of online assignments. She is pretty independent, but one day a week (with an A/B block schedule) of in person instruction isn’t cutting it for more advanced classes. Some of her teachers have adapted well to this and other just…haven’t. I have also discovered that the Chemistry 101 class I took in college didn’t really stick with me…lol.
My son is 10 (in 5th grade) and I think it’s going fine but honestly don’t have much insight into his grades etc. I caught him with the volume all the way down a couple of times during live instruction, and with youtube open another time. The district is not forcing kids to turn their cameras on, so he doesn’t turn his on. I’ve asked him to start turning it on so the teacher can see him and he’ll feel more pressured to pay attention.
He’s in advanced classes so, worst-case scenario, the year is a total wash and he ends up at his assigned grade level next year.
We took the on-line public school option for our ninth-grader. The district used the pandemic as an excuse to cut her program for both in-person and on-line students, so she was bumped down to regular “honors” classes. In our district, the term “honors” is widely acknowledged to be a joke. It’s boring, useless busywork: fill-in-the-blank lecture notes, YouTube videos, and multiple-choice worksheets with riddles on them like you would expect in second grade. As her math teacher from last year warned us, there is virtually no new material on the syllabus for this year. From what I hear, the in-person option is no different. In the program that was cut, she would have been reading primary sources in history, working with a group to derive formulas in math, doing science experiments, and analyzing novels in English.
We enrolled her in as few public school courses as possible and are supplementing with an on-line course from an experienced, high-quality provider. She loves it. “Mom, it’s amazing! We read an actual textbook, and do problems where we actually have to think, and the teacher gives actual lectures and we take our own notes instead of filling in worksheets. Is this what high school was like when you were a kid? Is this what college is like?” It’s sad. She’s now begging us to move or enroll her in private school next year. Private school is not really an option because there is only one school in the area that offers the courses she needs, there are virtually no spots available in this grade, and it would eat into her college funding in a big way. If her program isn’t restored next year, I will be trying to get my husband on board with a move.
I know this is an old thread, I’m catching up, but have you guys checked out the edX online university courses? My oldest girl (in university) did a few for fun during the hard lockdown and loved them. They’re definitely suitable for beginners if she’s in an honours program, especially the humanities, and for a pretty small fee, she can actually get a certificate for them!