Virtual learning is coming to an end!
To say it’s been difficult would be an understatement. Virtual learning is definitely not the same as homeschooling. When you take something new and unplanned, then combine it with an already emotional situation (like a global pandemic!) we weren’t exactly set up for success. However, I’m proud that we kept pushing through, and we’ve almost hit the finish line.
That’s not to say that the school and teachers didn’t do an amazing job. They made the best of teaching through a stay at home order, and I’m thankful for everything they did.
I’m also very thankful for summer vacation!
So, as virtual learning, virtual teaching (for me!) Zoom meetings, and Google hangouts come to an end, we’re looking forward to some actual fun this summer. We’re going to spend more time offline, more time outside, and find more ways to entertain ourselves, while still staying safe and healthy.
One Last Thought on the Virtual
I had planned on writing a post on what we did to make virtual learning a success, but it never happened. It’s not that we didn’t have some good days, but there were lots of challenges. I’m not sure that we ever really hit our groove or found the exact recipe for success. Plus, I lost a lot of my motivation to write about anything, and I struggled with time management.
I’m not used to having three permanent shadows that are constantly asking for things!
Even though I stayed at home before the Pandemic, it still felt different for the last few months. I was stressed and worried about everyone’s health, I wasn’t able to relieve my stress at the gym, and I also didn’t get a chance to do the things I enjoyed, like shopping with my mom or visiting with friends. Plus, I’m used to spending a lot of time by myself during the day.
The sheer noise level during the day was enough to push my senses into overdrive. I often had to just sit in my bedroom at the end of the day watching mindless TV or reading a book to calm myself. My husband even got me a pair of noise-cancelling headphones for Mother’s Day!
How We Pushed Through
So, even though it wasn’t always enjoyable, we did get most of the work done each day. How did we do it? Here was the way we worked:
- Good Morning early risers! The twins have always been up early, and even without the mad dash to the bus, they still were up around 6/6:30 am for the first month or so. Towards the end, it was closer to 7 am, with Mr. B often sleeping until 8 am. Luckily, everyone now can entertain themselves with tablets or TV until I got up, which was also around 7:30/ 8 am.
- Coffee, breakfast, and more coffee. Even though he did not go into his office as much, my husband was still an essential worker (real estate) and left the house by 8 am most days. Even if he did stay home later, the boys always wait for me to get their breakfast. I guess it just tastes better when it comes from mom! Notice, I did not say “when mom makes it,” because it is always something like cereal, frozen waffles, or toast.
- Plan for the day. Each teacher would send their daily schedule by 8 am, so after eating, I would read the boys their plans for the day. They were broken up in the same order each day, but we often started with the most challenging, to get it out of the way.
- And….Break! Mr. B would head off to his own room, and the twins and I would go to our “wood” room. It’s a room off our living room with wood walls that is usually home to the computer. We set up a table and chairs, I organized all of our pencils, markers, and crayons, and taped some worksheets to the windows. This set-up lasted for the first month or so. Then, we moved to wherever we were comfy.
- Zoom in for your close-up. Each of the twins’ subjects would start with a taped video lesson. They would do the same subjects, but do their own work. If they were online activities, we would put one on our old computer, while the other would use my chromebook…another reason I didn’t get much of my own work done! Then, they would have Zoom class meetings twice a week and individual meetings once or twice a week. Mr. B also had virtual clarinet lessons!
- Recess? We don’t need no stinkin recess! At the beginning of virtual learning, we tried to take breaks as often as they did in school. It was then hard to get back to work, and it took us a long time to finish all of the assignments. So, we then decided to just push through. We would get as much done as we could in the morning, so after lunch it was mostly free time. They still had snacks (so many snacks!) and breaks, but we would make them part of the learning. For example, they would do their writing assignment, and then get a snack and read for 20 minutes. Then, we would move onto their math assignment.
- We are Basic. I’m a little ashamed to admit we did the bare minimum. Each plan would come with “must” do and “may” do, and you can guess which ones we did. We also didn’t do much of the formal PE or Art assignments. My kids are pretty active on their own, plus they love to draw, color, and create for fun.
About a month into our virtual learning experience, I started back teaching my dance classes. My classes were virtual too, but I also needed my own space and was unable to help the kids at the same time. So, I set up a makeshift studio in the basement, and we had to call in a sub.
Enter the Dad!
I think he will tell you that even though he works hard at his job, the job of virtual teacher is a much harder one.
So, every Wednesday, I would head to the basement to dance in front of a computer screen, while Andy worked with the boys. It was a nice break for me, but it was another challenge to the virtual learning. A switch in the routine wasn’t great for an already new situation, but it had to be done.
I will admit that I was a little happy, though. My husband got to see how truly difficult it was, plus I learned that my boys don’t listen to either parent equally. It wasn’t just me or my teaching skills!
Now, on to the Actual
So, as of right now, we have a little over 24 hours left of virtual school. Yes, I am counting every hour!
While we don’t have as much planned this summer, since many things are still closed or cancelled, we can still have fun. We have a few activities lined up, plus some new things we’re adding to the house to make our summer one to remember.
This year did not end how we thought it would, but it was definitely memorable!
Come on back, and I’ll share all of our summer ideas to keep you entertained, healthy, and safe. In the meantime, if you have any summer activities you’d like to share, please leave them in the comments, and I may include them in the post!