Taking On Distance Learning?
School beings on Monday and I feel woefully unprepared. I’m taking on distance learning this year because it’s the safest option. When schools were shutdown last spring, I knew there was no way we would be returning to the classroom anytime soon. It’s simply not safe.
I’ve rescheduled my interviews for at least the first few days because I need to be focused on the boys. Lizze is helping to create a workable plan to navigate this as successfully as possible.
I’ve been worried about what I was going to do in regards to school since they were shut down in the spring. I knew there was no way they would be returning to the classroom. I’ve hosted several podcast episodes on this topic because it’s so important right now.
I’m completely overwhelmed by this and that seems to be kicking my depression into overdrive. The more challenging things in my life get, the harder it is to keep moving forward.
Distance Learning vs Remote Learning vs Homeschooling
Distance learning is different than remote learning and homeschooling. I’m actually releasing a new podcast episode with Annette Hines, where we discuss the differences in my detail. It will be available 8/21/2020.
This is a very basic breakdown.
With distance learning, it’s a completely online experience, and the curriculum is provided. Remote learning is when you’re still attending the local school but you’re doing so online until it’s safe to return to the classroom. Homeschooling is when you create the curriculum yourself and you become your child’s teacher.
Why Distance Learning?
I chose distance learning because it seemed the safest alternative to being in the classroom and I don’t have to be the teacher.
Many brick and mortar schools are going to remote learning or some hybrid model. My concern with this was that our school really wasn’t setup for this and at the time, they were still looking at a hybrid model which would be a nightmare for autistic kids. It’s not their fault and I don’t blame them. No one was prepared for this to happen and everyone is doing their best to make it work.
Lizze and I felt that distance learning would provide a more consistent experience for the boys. We also felt it was the safest option and that’s important. Elliott has asthma and Gavin is immunocompromised, meaning we have to be very careful.
Having a plan B would probably be a good idea but at this point in time, I feel like I barely have a plan A.
The boys need to log 27.5 hours a week and that’s about 5.5 hours a day, with weekends off. It’s less time then if they were in the actual classroom but I’m lacking that classroom structure and that worries me. Keeping their attention and focus on school will require patience.
Part of this time needs to be PE related and we can be very creative with that. I’m actually excited about that because hiking, walking and exercising qualify as PE time. That should be pretty straightforward and we’re already trying to safely include that activity into our lives during the week anyway. Now the boys will get school credit for it.
Why Am I So Worried?
I’m stressed out because I have my hands full already and I worry about finding a balance that allows me to be there for my kids during the school day, while still managing to work. That’s not going to be easy.
I foresee the boys getting frustrated with the experience. They’re not very excited about this because they miss their friends. At this point in time, it makes no difference because they wouldn’t be in the classroom anyway. I’m hoping to get some Zoom meetings for the boys setup so they stay connected with their friends. That’s really important.
Single Parenting Challenges
Another reality I have to face is that I’m a single parent. Lizze wants to help and I’m sure she will but it’s not really practical at this point. I feel good having her on my team but she’s not actually here, so the reality is that this falls mostly on my shoulders. I feel overwhelmed just thinking about. We are working on some creative ways to include her during the week and one of those plans involves using our Facebook Portal.
The idea there is that she can monitor the kids and help them if they need help. They would need to be setup in the living room in view of the TV. Lizze would be on the screen and the camera would be able to track the boys. They can basically interact as though they’re in the same room.
Not sure how that will work out but it’s not a bad idea and it’s definitely worth a try. If it does work, it would be a great way for Lizze to be involved with the daily school stuff. Her thought was that if I had to work or had an interview scheduled, she could log on and take over for me.
Why I’m Still Optimistic
Distance learning isn’t going to be easy. I feel like our lives are already challenging enough and this will add to that challenge. At the same time, I believe that this presents us with a unique opportunity to get the kids into a more mainstream environment and see how they do. This may ultimately prove to be the best thing we could’ve done.
This checks most of the boxes and I feel good about that. I’ve always been very hands on with my kids and this will give me an opportunity to help them with their education in a more direct way. That’s pretty cool in my book.
While I’m worried and stressed out about this whole thing, I’m also excited about the opportunities this could present the boys with.
Perhaps things will be less stressful once I get my footing here. Distance learning, here we come.