By TCS Parent Mike Robinson, dad to first-grader Paige.
I’ll be honest, before the first day of remote learning actually started and as we were lying in bed looking at all the color-coded kid schedules on social media, I thought virtual learning was going to be a breeze. As it turns out, keeping a 4 and 7-year-old engaged for most of the school day, while trying to work as well, was quite hard. When we plopped back down in bed after the first day – exhausted from the long day – we knew we needed a better plan.
As we all know (or are finding out now), when kids are cooped up inside for too long, they get antsy. So we decided to start the day with a family walk, something to start our day on a positive note and release some of that early-morning energy. While I’ve never been a workout-in-the-morning type of person, I’ve found these walks to be quite enjoyable. They’re a chance to clear your head before the day begins. We also try to do family walks in the afternoon, right before or after dinner. I think I’ve taken more walks in the past week than I have in the previous year!
While walks and time spent outside are nice, we also realized that there were other adjustments we could make to help remote learning go more smoothly for us. First and foremost, figuring out how the Seesaw app works was crucial to our success. Once we spent a few minutes figuring it out, we found it to be very, very useful (and even fun!). Each group posts daily activities (and even after-school activities if your child is in Extended Day) for kids to do, then the kids post their responses and progress with pictures or videos.
One of the things TCS does best is foster connection. Paige sees her teacher, Maryann, and several of her classmates every morning and afternoon during the class meeting times. Paige still misses seeing all of her friends regularly so we’ve set up time for her to practice spelling with her classmates and even just spend some time chatting and showing them around our house. Kids need water cooler talk, too! Thank goodness we live in 2020 and technology allows us to interact virtually with little effort. Reach out to your fellow parents to set up time for the kids to chat, we’re all in this together and we can help each other make each day more fun and exciting.
From learning new apps to trying to juggle work and ‘teaching’ (I’m sure most of us parents don’t have a minor in education), it’s all been pretty head spinning. As remote learning continues, our family continues to problem solve and make adjustments. And while each day brings about challenges, we are trying to focus on the extra time we get to spend together (when the kids aren’t fighting, of course) and the health that we have.
We hope everyone continues to stay safe (and sane)!