Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Virtual School Means Big Learning Curve for Grandparents

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Our school system went to distance learning in March. It was a disaster to start, but got a little better about a month into it.

The district is going to continue with on-line school until at least November.

My husband and I live with four of our grandkids and our son, who works for the highway administration. He works a lot of nights and weekends, so we are with the kids more than he is. The kids are all school age, and when we first moved in, it wasn’t too bad helping with them. We take over for our son when he’s working, and are used to helping with homework. But like so many out there these days, we didn’t sign on to be their full-time teaching assistants. We had less trouble getting the hang of the on-line technical stuff than we do understanding and supporting them with some of their subjects. We do okay with social studies and what they now call language arts, and for the younger kids the science isn’t bad. But the math, the way they present it to the kids now, is way out of our league, and my husband is a retired engineer!

I guess this is part venting and part my wanting to hear from some of the people who comment here about how they’re handling this distance learning. --- CAN’T MAKE THE MATH ADD UP

DEAR CAN’T MAKE THE MATH ADD UP: To say, “I hear you,” is an understatement. When our oldest child was in elementary school and I was working with her on long division, she announced I was no longer allowed to help her with her math homework.

I know that since our local school system shut down due to the pandemic, they’ve posted a variety of links to help the adults who suddenly find themselves teaching assistants. But for those who are working from home, are not tech-savvy or confident, or who may not be fluent in English, the task has got to be daunting.

If you haven’t yet, check out your school system’s website to see if there’s anything you missed or that’s been added for the new school year. You may find many of your concerns have been addressed. If not, once things start up, you can reach out to the kids’ teachers directly to voice your concerns and ask for help.

Like you, I’m curious to see what helpful suggestions some of my readers can offer.

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