This school year won’t be anything like what we used to have. Parents are stressed out and drowned in uncertainty; kids are worried that they won’t have the same friends in their new classrooms or that they would not be able to maintain friendships or makes new ones. Statista‘s July survey of over 300 parents shows that although more than 50% of parents can support remote/blended learning of their kids and are prepared to embrace this school year with adequate technology, only 37 % believe that the quality of online classes is somewhat about the same as in-person classes.
The majority of the parents want their children to be in the classrooms or have partial virtual learning, whereas some embrace complete remote learning. I support both groups. I think in-person classes help children to learn the structure and to develop socio-emotional skills. Remote learning can benefit those who are unable to attend school due to health-related reasons. For example, my sister has been having her daughter on 100% remote learning for some time now to manage her child’s severe allergies and weak immune system.
While every parent will make the choice that they are most comfortable with to sustain employment and protect their child, the uncertainty in the future and inability to plan and structure weeks ahead is what keeps everyone on edge. It’s tough times, and it doesn’t get any better for those parents who have special needs children. The toughness of the situation only triples. While my daughter will most likely flourish, even attending school part-time, my son will require my attention at all times. Parents will not get relief and will be required to become private tutors again. They will also be required to arrange for sitting services on the days when they need to work, and their children study remotely. If many parents relied on afterschool programs before, now they must rely on their extended family, friends, or pay sitters to watch their kids.
One thing I took away from school closures in Spring and Summer is that parents do have an opportunity to influence how and what their children are learning and positively enhance their learning process by bringing in different perspectives or teaching methods. As a parent, you have no choice but to dig through their books and assignments to fill in the knowledge cracks and patch the weak spots. Remote learning forces you to re-assess your child’s abilities and provide personalized support that you otherwise would not have provided. It’s almost a bittersweet situation where you are tired of being a teacher, but you have an opportunity to reshape the ways your child learns. I equipped myself with resources from Education.com and Teachers Pay Teachers to help my children understand certain concepts or keep them occupied in a more scholastic way during lock-down days. Most of the teachers use these resources, so why not parents tap into the same pool of academic reserves? I found these resources quite amazing and affordable. Education.com allows you to generate your own worksheets of word searches, crosswords, word matches, thus allowing you to focus on your child’s weaknesses and gradually build their mental endurance. It also gives you access to educational activities, games and songs. TpT gives an abundance of school resources for special needs children such as building social and emotional literacy or learning about safety during pandemic times. Finally, take advantage of free Google Sheets by creating your PowerPoint decks filled with the images and vocabulary that you want your child to learn. It takes time some effort but the results can be quite rewarding.
Thank you for reading.