I had a front-row seat to my children’s education.
Both of my kids logged in for the entire school day. My oldest son was in middle school. He has an Individualized Education Program and needs physical assistance for all of his work. He has a paraprofessional at school who helps him. During remote learning, I became the paraprofessional. During remote learning, I was there immersed in the lessons with him. It was nice to be able to talk about what he was learning.
I learned how my kids interacted with their teachers.
My youngest son was in elementary school. He also has an IEP. He has been in some very difficult situations at school. As a result, he does not have a positive outlook about school. Through supervising his remote learning, I had a unique opportunity to see how he engaged in his learning. This helped me plan better when he returned to school in person.
I was able to take notes and data, which has been beneficial when planning for an IEP meeting.
I’ve always worked with staff to help develop the best educational plan for my boys. However, I often rely on what the staff tell me. During remote learning, I learned the boys’ learning styles. I saw how certain accommodations helped or didn’t help. I saw how they responded to instructions, classwork, etc. This has helped me plan better.
I enjoyed the flexibility.
With remote learning, we were able to do schoolwork from anywhere. We stayed with my parents in Virginia while we finished out the 2020 school year. We went back to Virginia in the fall of 2020. The time my kids got to spend with their grandparents and other family was priceless.
While there, we went on field trips. We visited Jamestown. We stood on the exact same land as the first settlers. We visited other historical landmarks and even got to see firsthand, protestors demonstrating for racial justice. We traveled to Washington, D.C. Being with my kids and experiencing and learning history together was fabulous. I know they will have these memories forever.
The pandemic encouraged the district to become more digital-friendly.
Both of my kids use technology. My oldest son relies on it to access his surroundings. He uses technology to talk and do schoolwork.
My youngest has some fine motor difficulties. Using a computer instead of writing has helped him a lot. Pre-pandemic, our district was far from each student having a dedicated device. Since the district was forced to pivot, teachers became much more comfortable with technology and sharing materials online. This flexibility around technology benefits ALL kids.
A few years ago, my youngest son hated school. His behaviors there were speaking volumes, yet no one seemed to be listening. It was frustrating and heartbreaking. During this time, a friend gave me some of the best advice. It changed my entire outlook on education. She said, “Kids will learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it.” Holy cow! She was right.
So, on the days when I thought I was drowning and I wondered if my kids were learning anything, I remembered this. Do I want to do remote learning again?? NO! But I am thankful for the opportunity.
Here is information about assistive technology and adaptive equipment.
When our kids start school, they might need to be assessed for special education services. Sometimes this isn't needed until they've been in school a few years. The school district must identify and evaluate all children with disabilities. Once identified, they must be provided a Free Appropriate Public Education or FAPE.
Categories: Education & Schools