A response to GOT’s last post from a parent, Kerri Cook Halligan:

Excellent post! I love the proactive nature of trying to make it better. I’m hoping for smaller classes, *limited risk* return to the classroom for my kids. But if we need to go back to online schooling, I like that teachers are thinking about how to make it better.

My teens had a really hard time and I was here to push and prod them. About halfway in, I spent HOURS each week logging onto Duval Homeroom trying to summarize and prioritize their work onto a clipboard sheet. I wouldn’t say we had 100% success because it was a struggle to get them to make progress when they got behind. I think it would have been better if I had done that from the start and then phased them into updating the chart themselves.

My observation as a parent was that

1) attendance was not consistent across the board and that was a problem. Some had google forms but you couldn’t SEE if the form had been submitted so my kids would forget. Others had daily questions that the kids had to answer. I liked this best because I could spot check my kids and see if they were at least checking in.

2) We also had issues that required a LOT of hunt and pecking for parts of an assignment. My kids would get frustrated and also distracted.

3) We also had issues with the type of work being assigned. My kids were not invested and they checked out.

4) Another thing was that this was such a huge upheaval. My kids were feeling very down and it took a huge amount of effort to get them to complete work. I think things would be better in the fall but I would hope that we can recognize that at least some of the ‘failure’ of the initial round was that you can’t teach kids that don’t feel safe and secure.

5) We let our schedule go to heck. My teens stayed up late and woke up late. This allowed my husband and I to work from home quietly before the chaos began. This meant that my kids missed whatever online real-time lessons might have been going on that could have helped with some of the above issues. I personally would prefer to see later hours for the ‘live lesson’ stuff instead of the early ones we had to choose from. During isolation, my homeschooled (dual-enrolled) teen daughter wrote a research paper about the benefits of a later start time for school for teens so I have been hearing from her about all the studies on it. I think this could have helped with 2 & 3 above for us.

6) I think my kids would have benefitted from a weekly or twice weekly phone call with a school employee mentor to help them stay focused and moving forward. We had this a bit with my kid who has an IEP. I think my other teen could have benefitted from this, too. Someone that could even email teachers to get clarification on assignments, help prioritize, offer tips on doing school at home or just offering a word of encouragement.

One thought on “The Nitty-Gritty (Part Three)

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