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The Virtual Learning Rant Thread

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,157
Points
51
Despite the recommendations from the CDC, some school districts feel that it is better to force all the kids to attempt to learn virtually instead of in person with proper safety protocols in place. In our case, we have our kids go to a charter school that has an independent board. The company that runs the school said that they should open, the principals and other admin prepared a plan to have them open, and over 50% of the families indicated that they would want their kids in school full time. However a handful of teachers expressed concerns so they ignored everything else and decided that the entire semester will be virtual.

That works great for some, but my middle son who is in 3rd grade is on the autism spectrum and does not do well with virtual learning at all. He will be able to get some in-school services starting next week, but they still require him to participate in his regular class in a virtual format. So I decided to try to help him this morning, and it is worse than I thought. I applaud the teacher for trying, but she was called out of her class room several times, leaving the kids to sit and be quiet, the instructions were difficult to read, and my son kept closing his computer because he was board. We went as far as unplugging everything and when I got up to go to the restroom, he ran and hid in his room.

The oldest is doing better with it and our youngest is at a scholastic center that is assisting him, and even in that case, it is less than 25% successful for any of the kids from what we have been told.

If you have school age kids, are they in school or are they virtual learning? How is it going for you? Do you have any suggestions that might help others?
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,575
Points
46
Our district started all virtual this week for 5th grade so we're only a few days in but so far so good. I would rather have my daughter in class in the a.m./p.m. split like they were originally planning but that didn't happen.

I peek my head into the den on occasion while she's in "class" and the teachers seem to be doing a good job at keeping the kids engaged and attentive. Her class sizes were already relatively small (usually about 20 in a class each year) but the school brought on another 5th grade teacher this year so the classes are each about 15 or 16 kids this year and I think that helps.

Last spring there were definitely some bumps in the road when the virtual learning was thrust upon us unexpectedly and although I think our teacher and district did as well as they could it seemed like the teachers were sort of phoning it in for the first few weeks. I think a lot of that stemmed from the fact that the state kept saying they wouldn't count online instruction towards total instructional hours so the teachers probably felt like, what's the point? IIRC, it took the state at least 8 weeks to finally realize they needed to change that stance and by that time we were nearly done with the school year.

Right now, the teachers seem to have clear lesson plans that they can do online up and ready to go. It really feels like the teachers spent some time in the summer preparing for being online. This early in the year, IMO the biggest problem is my wife wanting to constantly hover over our daughter while she's in the class or wanting to fire off an email to the teacher at every slight problem (real or perceived). I've needed to remind her a couple of times that she's in 5th grade now and in normal circumstances we don't hover over her in her classroom, so we probably shouldn't be doing that in the den either and that this is still the first week in a process that is totally new for everybody involved and I am sure the teacher feels these hiccups too. We need to give the staff a bit of time to adjust just like our daughter needs time to adjust or we would need time to adjust.

Next week our 4-year-old starts PreK at the preschool through our church. The school only has about 40 students across three levels of classes so we were really hoping they would do some in-person instruction but they decided to follow the lead of the local school district, at least to start the year. I don't know how much we'll be able to do with a PreK kid online, but the teacher will be dropping off kits with crafts and activities each week and then there is only about an 90 minutes worth of online instruction each week, plus a daily storytime and a few other things.

The school district is tentatively scheduled to go back to some form of in-person instruction in early November (at the start of the next marking period) and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it happens. The church is in the process of putting in some new hi-tech HVAC and filtration system so maybe they'll decide to go back a little earlier.
 

Big Owl

Cyburbian
Messages
2,680
Points
31
My youngest is in eighth grade and she is doing 2 days in person and 3 days virtually. She's doing better this year than she was last spring. You can tell that the school and staff prepared as best they could. Last spring was thrown together and my child was given the impression by the teachers she had that it didn't really matter and that the class work was optional. This semester, the school was clear that it mattered and it was not optional. My child needed to hear that she was going to be held accountable by the school so that she will apply herself. The only class she has as a scheduled real time virtual class is band... which I thought was odd. The students at home are required to have their mics muted. The rest of the class has work that is assigned on the virtual days and the teacher has office hours. I am hopefull that we are able to continue in this manner until they go back to school full time.
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
13,132
Points
54
The Girl went back to in-school this week for 2 days and on-line 3 days a week (they had been on-line only due to the air conditioning work the school was completing). She said it was good to see friends again but it was weird too. Being in HS is completely different from you guys with little ones and I feel lucky that she is older and can handle it.

During those first 2 weeks, she went over to a friends house for on-line school. She said she enjoyed it because they seemed more engaged than when working alone. It looks like they're going to keep that practice going for at least 1 or 2 of the days they are on-line. She also said that she really hopes they can go full time in the Spring since this is her senior year and would like to have something that resembles normalcy.

A coworker told me this morning he knew a school teacher that had to quit because because she had no day care options.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,575
Points
46
A coworker told me this morning he knew a school teacher that had to quit because because she had no day care options.
At the last minute our district decided to require teachers to teach from their school classrooms 5 days a week. Understandably, there was a large amount of pushback from many of the teachers because they may have small kids at home too. The district quickly backtracked and told the teachers that working in the school is preferred but if they need to be home, they understand.

Last spring when all of this started, the state had actually mandated that all school property be closed to everybody except essential maintenance staff and I do think that all of my daughter's teachers physically being in the school this fall instead of like in the spring is making a difference too.

Who knows though. We're only a few days in so I'm basing everything off an extremely small sample size.
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
646
Points
27
My child is headed back to in-person 5 days/week (private school). Public schools around here are going to generally try for 2 days in person/2 days virtual per week and see how it goes.
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
7,413
Points
33
No kids in school yet, but our district has taken a good approach. The first, and perhaps most important, thing they did was delay the start of the school year. They did this for a few reasons:
  • They knew last-minute decisions/changes would be impossible for both parents and teachers to manage
  • They wanted to maximize their access to data to make a more informed decision
  • They wanted some community conversations rather than taking a purely top-down approach
  • They wanted logistical time for things like electronic device pickup, addressing digital-divide issues, etc.
  • They'll quietly tell you that they also wanted to see what happened with some of the initial guinea pig districts that decided to open early
They are planning to start September 8th, so we'll see how it shakes out.

One of my friends in DFW just withdrew her daughter from school and opted for a home school online system. She felt her daughter was learning better from it, and liked the approach to electives and enriched topical learning. She said it reminded her a little of Montessori, but with more structure. A few of her friends and neighbors are doing the same system, operating kind of like a tiny home school co-op. They've talked about each of them taking a day to manage all five kids so that each can work from home 4 days a week easier. Her daughter is 7.
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
7,413
Points
33
That is funny that you make it sound so far out... September 8th... I will call it next Tuesday.

We were supposed to start back on August 20th I think. I'm not sure... my kiddo isn't school-age yet.

I think ours is virtual for the first nine weeks. I think that's what I remember.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,943
Points
51
My problem might be more with my kids than the school. The oldest is in 9th grade and tries to do as little as possible. So we have to stay on her to get the work done. She's better after having a bad weekend. She does better with in person school. I also think she misses the social part of hanging out Friday after school at the soda joint or whatever kids are doing these days.

The youngest is in 6th grade going on 12th. She's the smart one in the family and does not get it from me - beat you to the joke! We have to keep asking the school to give her more of a challenge in reading and math. The math she's working a grade level above now and that seems to help. The reading they put her a grade level above and we kept telling them to look at her records. She's doing 9th grade work. Give it to her. They're bumping it up next week.
 

dandy_warhol

Cyburbian
Messages
9,415
Points
40
Our school district is going to offer, for a daily fee, space for the teacher's children to do their remote learning while their parent teaches.
 
Messages
2,475
Points
21
This is a very common and quite depressing headline these days:
"As wealthy parents turn to learning pods and private schools, low- and middle-income families say they’re being forced to choose between their health and their kids’ education"
_______________________________________


"[W]ealthy parents are turning to learning 'pods,' and in-person tutoring to give their children an extra boost. But these pods come with a price tag of upwards of $30,000.
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
"In many rural areas of the South, internet access is limited, expensive or unavailable, not just for students but for everyone."
______________________________________________
______________________________________________

______________________________________________
...Even in Canada!
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,575
Points
46
^ There are a few kids from my daughter's school who live in our neighborhood whose parents put them in a "pod" this fall. One of the parents who was organizing it reached out to my wife to see if we would be interested in putting our oldest in it, we would just need to chip in our share of $70k. I could hear my wife rolling her eyes. I feel for these families and it's nice that their kids have these opportunities, but, two weeks into online learning with our public schools, I'm confident that we've made the right choice (not that we were ever actually considering shelling out nearly $20k above and beyond our already high property taxes.
 
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