First Few Days Dealing with a Virtual Learning Experience
Virtual learning for stressed parents 5 tips and 3 videos
Bio Parents and Foster Parents new reality of learning at home
My name is Vincent Ellis White, and I'm a full-time, full custody father of a 9th grader who just started school on 9/8...virtual school that is. HELP!!!!
As I'm sure you all are aware, due to COVID-19 , most of the schools have temporarily changed over to virtual school for (at least) the first nine weeks. I don't know how many parents out there can relate, but it's been crazy! Plenty of chaotic as well as calm moments in this household. On the night before (yes, the night before), my son's school-issued laptop wouldn't turn on (after it had been working the week prior when we gave it a trial run), so the first day of school, we were stuck in a "tech line" at his school, and I had him online with his classes via his cell. We stood in line for what felt like half the day, to get to the front, and have them take his laptop and say, "there is a backlog, so your new laptop will be here in a week or so."
To make matters worse, some of his teachers weren't even logging on in time. Some of his fellow students were dressed in inappropriate clothing while live, and some were sleeping instead of paying attention. I ultimately had to lend him my work laptop so that he didn't struggle by doing it on his cell. The teachers gave him all kinds of different instructions, some saying don't worry about day one, while others were diving right into it. He's just blown away (plus you must remember, working from a cell phone for part of the day, and a work laptop for the other). This was just day one, in Henrico County. Our neighboring county, Chesterfield, had server issues and completely shut everything down until further notice.
Day two, my son goes into his school day on my work laptop, so I'm now working from my cell. I head back to his school because I received an email stating that we can now pick up a new Chromebook. I get there and stand in line again, just to be approached by an administrator who tells me that the email wasn't correct (he did apologize, but still), and the Chromebooks are not yet available. I get home, visibly frustrated, and try to "fix my face" for my son so that I can be there for him if he needs help. He's been asking me a million questions or just having a million items to discuss this new schooling way.
Day three, I wake up to a text from the school saying we can now get a temporary Chromebook. I know better this time, so I call first. They confirm, I head there, and after an hour, I get my son a replacement Chromebook to bring back home. He's ecstatic (probably tired of using daddy's old looking laptop anyway!). All of my friends that are parents are all having similar complaints, some worse, others less. It's been crazy! As a professional, it's hard to get my work done, but the work doesn't stop, so I must power through it. As parents, you all know that your child doesn't care at all about if you work, where you work, or how important your job maybe...if they have questions, comments, or concerns, they will ask! But now, since I'm at home, he facetime me, he comes and taps me on the shoulder (right in the middle of a meeting), he's hungrier lately than ever before, the list goes on. It's very stressful as a parent, yet I don't want to leave him home and go out because that's when he'll need me the most (as soon as I leave).
Can you tell that I'm a little stressed?? Well, here are five things that I've learned to do to help me ease the stress:
- Stay calm, no matter what. If everyone is stressed out, no one gets anything accomplished. Be the calm voice that they need.
- Be empathetic, remember it's all new to the kids just as it is to you. They may not know how to properly verbalize it (and some can do so just fine.)
- Be flexible, be versatile. Trust me; you'll need it. From flipping over to virtual, using added apps versus the need for school supplies (that's another blog), being home with your child all day acting as a teacher sometimes and parent...please learn how to be flexible... toggle well.
- Have more patience than you ever have had in the past. Nuff (that's right) said.
- When the day is entirely over, go for a long ride. Studies have shown that this is one way to de-stress and/or relax. This can either be done solo or you can take the kids along. They've had a long day too.
I know that my only discussing the first three days isn't a long enough case study to help you with what may be in store. Still, it's been enough for me to figure out that implementing these five simple tips will help me and my household complete our designated tasks for right now (and I'm okay with that.) Whether you are Foster parents, Kinship, Bio, Mentors, etc., I hope that this blog brought you some enjoyment and some tips on how to make it through this new virtual experience with which we all are forced to deal.
Please remember, stay safe out there (and in your households)!
Hello, Vincent Ellis White, and I am a Home Study Specialist at Extra Special Parents (ESP), a licensed foster care treatment agency in Virginia. In my ESP role, I mainly have two tasks:
1: I train potential foster parents and guide them as they navigate the road to certification to become licensed foster parents.
2: I conduct home studies of likely foster parents, which is a critical part of the certification road.
3 Videos 2 professional view of virtual learning and 1 reality WOW!