Welcome to my crazy busy week.
I have been preparing our back to school routine. Hold up, let me grab my coffee! Sarah, my shy, 11-year-old preteen, with Central Auditory Processing Disorder, as you all know can be a grenade of anxiety on the verge of explosion under normal circumstances. Throw in the extremely long March break, coronavirus, hormones and a mask and you can just imagine the commotion that’s been happening here.
The school gave us four options to choose from for this school year, due to our province still not being entirely opened up because of the pandemic. I have looked carefully and considered all of the options for Sarah, especially since she is in her graduating year from grade 6 to junior high as well as the options for Cam, my ASD/ODD grade eleven-er.
Option A: In school, face to face, learning: Kids being physically at school with everyone wearing a mask, even the teachers. The teachers for our board have standard mandatory masks as well as practicing social distancing as much as possible. Staying in the same class all day, no free playtime outdoors except to walk in a circle around the yard, limited resources and educational assistance etc… you get the picture, right?
*The problem I considered for Cameron, with this option, is that he needs a routine. Routines take time for him to get adjusted too, and with this option it cannot be guaranteed he will have a steady routine, with remote learners returning to school or peers switching into remote learning at home, Substitute teachers in and out, or the possibility of the school re-closing. For him, it wouldn’t be worth the struggle.
*The Problem I considered for Sarah is, again, the lack of a steady routine and the fact they all must wear masks, including the teachers. I could fight the school to have the teacher wear a clear mask or face shield so that Sarah would see her lips while she is talking. However, the other children in the class won’t be, nor other staff members. This would make the day long and stressful, struggling to hear and understand what everyone is saying to her.
Option B: Synchronised learning: where the teacher, wearing a standard mask, is teaching a regular class in school, while it is streamed to remote learners via Microsoft Teams.
*This option is excellent for Cameron because he will have the benefit of being with teachers he knows, kids he knows, and an environment he is familiar with. He will have a steady routine that will not change no matter what happens at school, especially if the school closes again. He will still have his routine of continued learning from home, with more than likely the same teachers. So this is what I have decided would be best for him.
*Problem with this option for Sarah is again, the teacher will be wearing a mask, so with the muffle of her voice through a mask, chatter noises of the classroom and the audio of the teacher’s table/computer vs. Sarah computer etc. I felt she would be stressed trying to hear everything that is going on and lose concentration on her work that needs to be done. So this option is also out for Sarah.
Option C: Asynchronous learning: online learning following the standard curriculum from the school board, at the leisure of the child, and options to replay the audio for children who are relatively comfortable navigating the computer / online world.
*Problem with this option for cam was that it would have been with a teacher he didn’t know and would be self-motivation appose to a familiar teacher demanding when work needs to be done, providing a much harder routine to establish in the long run.
*This option is excellent on many levels for Sarah. The teacher is also working from home, so no need for a mask to be worn. She can work at her own pace without feeling rushed. She can replay videos if she didn’t hear well the first time etc. Plus, if she needs my help and I am helping her brother, it can wait a few minutes, so routine/schedule-wise makes the most sense for us.
Option D: Bookwork: Following the standard curriculum using paper packages that are sent to the home, or parents pick up and return to the school.
*Both my kids have their own devices, are able to navigate the computer and online very well so no point trying the hassle of picking up / waiting for packages to arrive.
Why I help my kids with remote learning?
I help my kids with their remote / home school learning because at school they have an EA that helps them. However, through playing various types of video games they can navigate the online classes pretty well on their own. So I’m basically moral support and a walking google lol. I will also often take notes for them. If you have ADHD or CAPD concentrating on what’s being said as well as other movements on the screen can be difficult and I know this is something an EA would be helping them with. So because it’s at home, I’m their wonderful EA who doubles as the lunch lady and custodian. hehe