How distance learning saved my daughter’s life but ruined her high school years. Granted that she wasn’t an straight student to begin with but what little focus and motivation she had is now gone. Back in March of 2020, as we all know everything changed. I had just returned from a trip to Nicaragua on April 1st. A week later everything literally shut down. My daughter was 15 an a freshman in High School at the time. After 2 quarters of High School she was already struggling. Fortunately she had a lot of support at school from counselors and administrators who wanted to see her succeed. In the second week of April just before Spring Break, we attended meetings at the school to discuss here current academic standing and what needed to be done for the remainder of the school year. The following week the news broke that 2 faculty members had contracted the virus and died of complications. Then it was announced that they would not return to the classroom after Spring Break. They were assigned Chromebooks, giving a new schedule of classes and sent on their way. There no tips or tricks to distance learning. They just expected them to pick where they left off. The parents of elementary school aged children had more to contend with considering many work full time.
I like to think that if this had happened during my high school years, I would have thrived. I wasn’t the best student, but I knew to get enough work done to make it through, and the idea of doing it on your own schedule seems like a dream come true. In the beginning we tried to set her up for success. She had a work space, two laptops, and our support. As time went on her focus seemed to diminish. Her grades were reflecting that loss of focus and interest. We kept trying to find ways to motivate here. Some days she was on point. More days she wasn’t. She assigned summer classes to complete the school year. When the new school year began in September she figured out how to attend classes on her phone. This meant that she didn’t even feel a need to get out of bed. She logs in to the first to classes and sleep through them. Midday she gets a shower, does her hair and make up, which she point more effort into than school then eats. Logs into the third and catches up with Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. When I’m home, I make her get up and focus on classes. If I’m not home, who knows. Everyday I ask her about assignments, she seems to at least try to catch up on what she can if I’m on her back about it.
I know this doesn’t seem to bode well for me as a parent. I try to help and get involved as much as I can but she’s just not that into school and learning. It worries me because she’ll be 18 in couple of years and have to plausible skills or a basic education. Aside from school, she not a bad kid. She is a home body, even before the pandemic. She doesn’t smoke or drink. Her interest s are like every other teenage girl, makeup, fashion and music. We allow her to have a boyfriend. He’s is also in high school. Since they became official during the pandemic, he is only allowed to visit the house 1 day a week. If he travels for football, he has stay away for 10 days. A nice kid with a good head on his shoulders. The only thing I don’t agree with is that he’s got her believing he is going be a big time college football and NFL player and he’s gonna take care of her. having aspiration and goals is fine but my daughter thinks that she’s taken care of. That it means she doesn’t have to graduate high school or even work. We keep trying to explain to her that it’s not that simple. That bills doesn’t pay themselves. That a regular job is not enough to live on. She thinks we’re trying to scare but nothing seems to fade her. Putting her out would probably be the omly thing that would shake her, but even then she would think it was temporary and probably be right.
About a month ago a limited amount of students and faculty where permitted to return in class learning. Of course when asked, our daughter said she prefer to stay at home for the remainder of the school year. We concurred more for health concerns. We all contracted the virus back in November and she new left the house. More than likely through us, since we both worked through the entire pandemic. As of this morning that has been one verified case of Covid-19 at her school. For us her health and well being will always be first priority. Nonetheless we will continue o find ways to support and motivate her in and out of school.
My question is, how are other parents dealing with distance learning. I wonder is they experience similar situations with their high schoolers, as in a lack of motivation? Are younger student’s also struggling? What are things that you as a parent have implemented to motivate them and ensure success? I hate to think that she’s the only student her age struggling with this. That it’s her and in turn us as parents that are failing. I would love to hear from you, so be sure to share your experiences and tips on distance learning by leaving a reply below.