OPINIONS

GUEST COMMENTARY: A working mom weighs in on distance learning

Posted 11/13/20

My daughter is in sixth grade at L. Thomas Heck Middle School in Litchfield Park and will be returning to distant learning full-time along with other Litchfield Elementary School District students …

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OPINIONS

GUEST COMMENTARY: A working mom weighs in on distance learning

[Metro Creative Connection]
Posted

My daughter is in sixth grade at L. Thomas Heck Middle School in Litchfield Park and will be returning to distant learning full-time along with other Litchfield Elementary School District students starting Nov. 9.

 Here are my pro/cons list in regard to distance learning:

Pros

1. Children are able to be at home in a more comfortable and tolerable environment rather than being at school where they have no working water fountains, have to wear masks all day without any breaks, have to stay socially distanced from other students, cannot speak to other students in class because of distance between desks and masks, do not get to eat with buddies and are in a more regimented environment than a correctional facility.

It’s basically “come in, sit down, do your work” and that’s it. No socializing, group projects, events to look forward to, extracurricular activities or anything positive and joyful related to school. (Very sad situation for them.)

2. They do not have any exposure to COVID at school.

However, a lot of these children are still doing play dates, sleepovers and going out to restaurants and stores with their parents, so it sort of negates the whole minimizing the risk.

 Cons

1.  Another grade level where they will not have in-person instruction for nearly half of the school year, which in turn leads me to believe that they are not getting the same quality education as would be the norm with in-person.

I have witnessed my daughter (sixth grade), grandchildren (Kindergarten, first and second grade) all online and sometimes the younger kids are only online for about 20 minutes, then off a couple hours and then back for another 30 minutes.

How is that educating our children?

2. Children who have working parents are left to learn self-management skills, IT problem solving, time-management, meeting scheduling and study skills not previously needed.

I have employees at my law firm who don’t have some of these skills as adults, and we are expecting young children to have them.

3. Some parents have no way to do online schooling with their younger children because they have to work full-time. These children are being juggled around between daycare, family members and basically anywhere they can be put where someone can assist them in at least logging on. After that, they are on their own. These younger grade level students will for sure be behind the eight ball down the road.

Both in-person and distant learning having their own pros and cons. I really feel as if the district should allow parents to make the decision.

Teachers should be considered front-line workers. It is equally as important for our children to be educated as it is for us to take them to get immunizations or see the dentist, all of which have been available during the pandemic.

Dentist, doctors, nurses, postal workers, grocery store workers, law office administrators (me!), roofers, plumbers ... see where I’m going? There are a TON of people who have continued to work through this pandemic with caution, careful planning and extra steps for safety. Teachers could do the same.

 Either way you look at it, the children are suffering and the long-term affect is going to be irreversible in regard to our children’s comprehension, intelligence and social skills.

The younger children are not being educated. There is no way that when this is all said and done that our children will be able to pass the same benchmarks in certain grades as in year’s past.

They will also be less mature all the way around because of the lack of opportunity to fine-tune and mature their social skills. There is no personal, social or possibly academic growth when a child is left alone at a young age to manage and basically teach themselves.

 My daughter has been stuck in our home, fending for herself, since March because we are full-time parents who have continued to work through the pandemic.

She has learned how to manage Google apps/platforms, slideshows, the Internet router, restart her computer, mute and unmute microphones and turn a video camera on and off.

What she hasn’t learned is how to be a parent, teacher and child all at once, so she continues to struggle day in and day out at home and do her best to learn online, stay organized and overcome and adapt to a situation she has no control over.

I’m super proud of her but also scared to death that by the time they finally do go back to school that she will have missed so much of her normal intellectual growth.

How can I be assured she is taking her academics seriously and putting her best efforts forward when we aren’t looking over her shoulder? I can barely get the kid to brush her teeth and put on deodorant daily. She is a kid! And right now, we are expecting her to basically be an adult.

I wish all the children (and parents) luck.

Every household with children is struggling. Rich, poor, old kids, young kids ... I have seen it all with friends, family and employees.

We are all in the same boat and we all feel like we are sinking.

Editor’s note: Full-time working mom April Snow is business manager for Snow, Carpio & Weekley law firm.

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