Last winter my daughter did a short stint of “distance learning” during her year as a kindergartener. You can read more about our experience here.
Now that we’re a few months out from this experience, here are some interesting things I’ve learned.
Just because one on one attention is really great for most students doesn’t mean it’s best for all students.
This threw me off because when you have a struggling student, what’s the first line of defense usually? One-on-one learning. Pulling them aside and working with the student individually to help them understand the concept. So in my mind, I figured, my daughter will receive 1:1 attention and learning while I’m home with her, she is going to excel! It’ll give her a boost academically! And I was so wrong. Her test scores plummeted. Her reading regressed. And as soon as she was back in school? Her test scores shot up. Her reading improved greatly. Her math skills took a huge leap in what she was able to do. It wasn’t for lack of teaching, she basically had a private tutor every day for several hours at home!
Now I know there are so many other factors to consider, this would never stand up as a true experiment for so many reasons. However, with mom and teacher intuition included, I know deep down that being back in a big classroom with the energy of her classmates and teachers around her, she truly learned better. I’m sure pulling her aside to work one on one with certain concepts would work for her in some situations! But overall, her brain wasn’t built to sit at the kitchen table with one teacher. Her brain also wasn’t built to work independently out of a workbook. Her brain is built to move and see and interact while she learns.
It gave me a new perspective on those kids in similar situations that ended up doing school from home during the year or two (ish) of covid. I knew it was hard for them, but this gave me a deeper understanding and my heart went out to them.
Public schools do not get enough credit.
Okay, I already knew this. No one needed to tell me. But the way our principal and my daughter’s teacher stepped up and into action when I was a parent reaching out for support was absolutely incredible. Within an hour or two of sending the email to both the principal and the teacher letting them know our situation and asking for the best way to move forward, they already had a game plan made up and prepared for us. Each week they would both check in to see how we were doing and would ask if we needed any more support or help during our time at home. Public schools can get a bad rap for not caring or supporting, and I’m sure in some cases that is true. But I am extremely grateful we’ve lucked out and ended up with amazing teachers and administration.
The bottom line is this: all children learn in their own way and teachers are amazing. It’s something we all know, but sometimes having a good reminder is really nice.