Yana Blog > #school, #covid

School Readiness

I want to thank you for sharing with me your thoughts last week.  Seems like my blog post on self interest vs. equity struck a chord with a number of you.   As the poll below also shows, many of us are trying hard to find a balance on education for our kids.   

Might be good to keep in mind there's no right or wrong, just what's right for each family. 

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Can't believe it's the end of the summer?  School starts the coming Wednesday in our district. I just found out that my daughter starting 3rd grade will get in-person learning after all, probably means a lot of other parents opted for remote learning.

My daughter is pretty excited about the start of school. She misses all her friends, and has been asking me every other day who's gonna be her teacher. Turned out she'll get the same teacher as back in 2nd grade.  Woohoo! 

We just had listening conference with the teachers.  We found out we're lucky: there's another class in the same grade where they are still hiring the lead teacher. The new social distancing rules means more teachers are needed, as the in-person classes are only 12 kids each.  For the Chinese Immersion portion, even though they are in school, they'll sit in front of screens for remote learning so the kids at home can also have the same instruction.  I heard from the teachers that they've been working all summer to get ready for remote learning.  I'm sure it was a lot of hard work and careful planning.  My husband and I thanked the teachers and told them we fully support them. And well, let's all cut ourselves some slack if things don't go smoothly at first. ;-)

I have reason to be hopeful. As much as I complain abut our kids' spending too much time on screens, I'm also proud of how they have learned and adapted to the quarantine.  Back in the spring my daughter missed half the school calls because she had trouble remembering the calls, even with our help.  Over the summer she improved a lot: she had a few classmates she messages regularly over Google Hangout and even arranges video calls or played games online with them.  She figured out Youtube videos can show her how to win a rare pet on the Prodigy math game, and has even made a slide deck to show her friends how to catch a particularly tricky pet.  Oh and she even troubleshooted for her grandparents when they were having technical difficulty, and tried to tell me what to do on a laptop now. ;-)

Of course there's still plenty for her to work on. Let's see if she'll finally be brave enough to raise her hand in class. While she's read some books, English writing has been neglected since the spring.  She'll soon find out whether Prodigy math she's been doing actually matches the learnings in class. And she still types with one finger, though I did get her to do some typing lessons online.  Today for the first time, at my insistence, she typed some messages to the family using all 10 fingers.

One upside is that I now know much more about the kind of math my daughter's working on and where she's having trouble.  Now I can take a few minutes to quiz her a bit on multiplication or watch with her a Khan Academy video on perimeter vs. area.   We've even had fun doing multiplication drills by pulling two cards out of a deck.  (She quickly told me to take out the 1, 2, and 10s, because multiplying those are "too easy." :)  

I enjoy watching her learn and grow, close-up.  Other parents have also told me with beaming pride about how they taught their children how to bike, or their kids took initiative to do a project of their own.  My daughter has also grown closer to her brother, and teams up with him to beat their dad at videogames, or just enjoy being silly with each other. And yes, they help each other out on math too. 

Just last night I read that the Cambridge district will test all the staff 2x a week. I hope that'll give the teachers and parents a greater sense of comfort about the fall reopening.  Onward!

How are you feeling now about school reopening? Please share your thoughts.

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