Social Distance Diary, Day 10: “Homeschool” Hurdles

AJ talks to his teacher on Zoom on my laptop (which he isn’t usually allowed to touch).

I was feeling conflicted–grumpy, really–about technology-based distance learning for my 3-year-old.

This is the third installment of my Social Distance Diary. The purpose is to share, connect and record some of the details of these strange times. I’ll will keep this up regularly (not daily) for the duration.

But then we tried it today, and it was … fun!

My objections were: My 3-year-old doesn’t have his own device. I wasn’t planning on getting him one anytime soon, and in no way do I want him to start thinking of my laptop or phone as his. And, what is he going to learn online that he can’t learn otherwise?

To be clear: His “assignments” from school are hardly onerous. Most of them are not technology-based anyway. And to be totally honest, I don’t actually feel any obligation to do schoolwork at all if it doesn’t suit our day (because he’s 3).

His teachers have done a nice job though–I felt cajoled into it. To kick off distance learning this week, they asked two tech-based things of us today, and these assignments were different and easier than what I had envisioned:

  1. Submit a picture to the class online platform of the student on/behind/next to/under a chair/bed/table etc. The photos would be posted and then the kids would view the photos and talk about “where” the classmate is: under the table, on the bed, etc.
  2. Video call with a teacher.

The first one worked out great! Photos were posted throughout the day, and I showed them to AJ on my phone as they came in. These were the first glimpses he had of his friends for more than a week. He was so thrilled. Also, I found out that AJ has some difficulty with the difference between “in front of” and “behind,” and this was the opportunity to work on it.

The second one presented me with a small challenge, because I don’t have Facetime on my Android phone, and I don’t generally video call in my personal life. His teacher has Zoom, so I signed up for that, and within minutes, she was on my laptop screen. She and AJ talked for 10 minutes or so, during which she showed him her garden and talked about books. (BTW, she recommended #Operationstorytime on YouTube for video story times by authors).

These tech activities were so easy and fun, and I hope they made AJ feel a sense of connection.

I don’t want to go on about this without recognizing that many families in DC don’t have devices or internet access for their children. Check out DC Education Equity Fund to see how you can help if you can afford to do so.

Sunflower Update

The sunflower sprout has reared its head. Still alive on Day 10 of my custody.

Today I am grateful for …

The internet. Imagine if we were isolating in the 80s!

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