Some families have had difficulty transitioning to homeschool-style learning, thanks to COVID-19.
The Provo City School District recently entered Phase II of their “Return to School Plan,” meaning students now attend school four times a week instead of just two.
The Giles family has three girls in elementary school. They’ve had to arrange their kitchen/living room area to accommodate the kids attending class at the same time.
Mother of the girls, Season Giles, described how they’ve adjusted to online learning. “Clara sits at the couch, and Nora’s here and Maren’s there on the other end. That’s the only place we have for them to go. We don’t have desks, nowhere to put them.”
But lack of space isn’t the only issue families face with online school.
“I think the hardest is just getting on to the sites,” Season said. “Passwords, we’ve had trouble with them not working. Their teachers have sent home lists of like, ‘Here’s your login, here’s your password,’ but they don’t work.”
Maren, a third grader, said, “A lot of times, I can’t get into the stuff that I’m supposed to be getting into.”
Not only are there technical issues, but the girls prefer learning in the classroom. Nora, a kindergartner, said she misses in-person school, “cause I’m meeting all my friends.”
The girls sometimes struggle when their mom can’t help them with certain assignments.
“When I need help, sometimes, mom, she just doesn’t always know how to help me,” said Clara, a fifth grader.
Season doesn’t think the girls learn as much or as effectively as they would if they went to school five times a week. Fortunately, the teachers make themselves available to work with the students and their parents.
“I’ve been really impressed with the teachers, mainly,” Season said. “I mean, these teachers are amazing. All the stuff they’ve had to do over the last few months, it’s just nuts.”
The Provo City School District hopes to move into Phase III, where the buildings will be at 100% capacity five days a week, at some point this school year, but they have no definitive date for this transition.