Staying Occupied: Navigating Online Learning

For parents in Ontario, we have just concluded the first week of online learning for our children. Our educators have worked tirelessly to navigate new platforms and figure out how to translate classroom learning into a virtual space.

My daughter’s classroom was already set-up with Google Classroom and Google Docs so they continued with this platform since there was some familiarity. It provided a slightly smaller learning curve for the students and it provides a video interface for them to interact.

But oh, the technology problems. Passwords that were reset. That still didn’t work. A login system that crashed. Parts that only work on computers and not on tablets. The need to install apps and keep track of logins. To be logged out of the system and denied access. To being setup again. Video platforms and internet services that weren’t used to handling this capacity causing video lag and frozen screens. And the missing friends because they either don’t have access to technology or in a family situation (e.g. essential services daycare, Parents/Grandparents with English as Second Language) that means they can’t join in.

On the positive side, the students were happy to see their friends on the video platform. They were especially happy to see their teacher and the goofy things she did to make them smile. And several of them were happy to have the distraction of school work.

Remember, this is not a substitute for school. This is adaption for trying times. This is an opportunity for the school community to engage with each other and feel a shred of normalcy.

The educators will do the best they can.

Students will do the best they can.

And parents can support within the best of their abilities. Remember, you are not their teacher. You are their mom, dad, or safe adult. Please help the children navigate as best as possible without causing additional stress to your family life.

In yesterday’s post about Acknowledge the Effort, I said “Say Thank You, Be Polite, Smile”. Please be kind to your child’s teacher(s). You might not agree with the work given or how but please do not badmouth them in front of your children. Remember that teachers are human too. You think it is hard working at home while entertaining YOUR child?!? Teachers have their own families and worries too. So send a virtual smile or hug or both. Then go on doing the best you can do.

Please share how you are staying occupied and/or what this first week of virtual learning was like for your family. You can respond to this post or reach out through Social Media.

There are now three summary posts with helpful links: Staying Occupied posts, Helpful Links for Families, and Fitness links to keep you healthy.

Note: This series was created due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the requirement to practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible. I hope that despite all the closures and the crazy grocery store lines, you can still find opportunities to stay calm, enjoy the extra time with your loved ones, organize the areas that need to be addressed, and find something (book, movie, craft) to bring you enthusiasm. Choose to be as balanced as possible and stay healthy.

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