COVID-19: The virtual learning challenge – You are not alone
Let’s face it, the sudden change from traditional to virtual learning has brought about a big challenge. Since Ecole Ronsard started to roll out the virtual learning program mainly on the Zoom and Seesaw apps, things have not been that easy.
‘I have no one to help with my toddler so I have to take her to work’, said one parent in tears. Since this pandemic started, many parents have been affected in diverse ways. If you are a parent reading this, it might be that you may have lost your job, have started out a shift schedule at work, or may find yourself working from home.
In extreme cases, you may even be stuck in another country on business assignment, separated from family. Coupled with all these circumstances is the task of homeschooling your kids or helping them learn while at home. That’s not all as you may even have to add the duties of house chores to the list. There’s no end to the challenges parents face when it comes to helping kids through virtual learning. But in all this, we would want to assure you that you are not alone.
The issue of shared devices
One of the challenges that parents of multiple kids face has to do with sharing one device for virtual learning. Ideally, for virtual learning to be effective, each student must be entitled to a dedicated device, but we realized that this was not the case for most people. Parents are already struggling to keep up so the issue of getting more devices is totally out of the picture. As a result, students found in such families either miss out on classes or do not join in at all.
The possible solution? Initially, what we did as a school to address the situation was to make some adjustments to the timetable. However, we realized it still persisted since we could not satisfy everyone. We then made provisions for teachers to store assignments and lesson videos on the Seesaw app. This was to help those who missed classes to catch up on assignments and lessons during the week. If you are still facing challenges and would like to seek more clarification especially in accessing the Seesaw app, our teachers’ doors are always open for you. You are the reason we are here.
Parents at Work
Since the lockdown was lifted, a significant number of parents have returned to work. If you are an essential worker in the health care, telecom, transportation, delivery, or grocery sector, you may still need to work away from home. Following these circumstances, virtual learning may not work the same way for you especially for you if your child is in daycare.
One possible solution? If you have a dedicated office space at work and can afford to take your ward along to work, do so. But if you do not have that luxury, treat it as a long summer break (only with more academic classes) while you search for a nanny or babysitter to look after your kids. Once that is sorted, schedule a time with the babysitter and explain how your child’s schedule works. If he or she is not tech-savvy, you may have to go over some lessons together.
Taking on extra chores?
The task of working from home isn’t any easier as you have to merge so many chores with work and the children. Do you cook before your day starts? Or do you cook when the kids are asleep? Either way may not even be possible as you may end up with the choice of sitting behind your computer trying to meet deadlines. If you are a perfectionist when it comes to your family’s diet and home arrangement, you may begin to feel guilty.
The possible solution? Think about cooking in bulk on weekends or during your free time. While at it, get your kids busy with some screen time or play activity. If they are old enough, have them help with the dishes. What if they don’t want to? Add a reward and see how quickly they’d rise to the occasion.
On the other hand, if cooking is not possible, and you can afford to, order some Chinese or pizza for a change. Still haven’t gotten a grip on working from home? For more tips on working from home, click here.
Stuck in another country with different time zones?
As a school with students from diverse backgrounds, we have been faced with some of our students and parents stuck abroad due to the pandemic. A seemingly short trip turned into a forced stay in a foreign country, with many countries closing their borders until further notice. If you find yourself in another country with different time zones, you may be faced with the challenge of a class being either too early or too late for your child.
A possible solution? Discuss with any of your child’s teachers and explain the situation at hand so that you both agree on a special schedule for him or her. Additionally, you could access the Seesaw app for updates. However, it is most ideal to speak to your child’s teacher first. On the other hand, if you are separated from your child and he or she is left with a guardian who is unable to help, kindly reach out to the school immediately. Let’s see how best we can help.
Though many of the challenges to virtual learning during COVID-19 are unavoidable, some strategies could aid in making learning achievable and productive.
Therefore, our dear parents, we would like to encourage and applaud you for the work you are doing to help your children maintain persistence in their education. Although we do not know how long this is going to last, we entreat you to hold on. We know it is not easy keeping up during these challenging times hence we want to assure you that YOU are not alone.
Do you have any peculiar tips for improving virtual learning in your home with your kids? Please share them with us in the comment section below!