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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Distance Learning Diary: The first day of school ... at home

I failed to write about the first day of school this year. But then an even more auspicious event occurred - the first day of distance "learning," which rapidly descended upon us just 16 days after the start of the school year. 
The second week of "real" school

When you get to third grade, your "first day" is much less monumental than when you enter nursery, first grade or high school. But your first day of home school can never be underestimated or brushed aside. For that is the day that - unless you've chosen by your own free will that monumental task of being a home-schooling parent - that your parents lose whatever shred of sanity had remained in their meager souls.

And it was all so sudden.

We were happily floating along in smaller classrooms and masks and all when suddenly, the government decided to shut down the country. Then even more suddenly, as we sat in our classrooms learning one day, they decided to move up the shuttering of schools to ... the next day!! Suddenly it was our last day for three weeks (or who knows) and we had to pack for the apocalypse. 

Then our first day of "remote learning" commenced - with 150 messages on WhatsApp across three different groups (one per child) to begin the day, and no available or charged devices ...

As they were gearing up to tackle distance "learning" head on, mommy fired off a letter to the teachers warning them of our inevitable lack of cooperation and why: 

"Thank you for your understanding. We completely understand that you as teachers have to create consistency for the students and if you didn’t, many of the other parents would complain. I feel bad for those of you who have children at home and are going through this as well. Good luck! I blame the government for this situation, not the school. 

"We had a very stressful time last lockdown (in March, April) and we learned: 
1. All of our kids are on different levels of learning 
2. None of our kids can open a computer and connect to Zoom on their own 
3. None of our kids can read their instructions for their homework 
4. Neither Hebrew nor Arabic are either of the parents’ mother tongue which makes everything take a lot longer
5. We have a child with special needs who needs a sayat in school AND at home in order to learn 
6. We both work and we need our phones and computers for work, so the kids cannot use our devices
7. None of our kids are independent learners and need lots of prodding to do any of their assignments.  

"Because of this, their home schooling requires 100% of our time - and yet we both work full time. 

"We want our kids to progress but it cannot come at the expense of our health and us yelling at them all day. Of course letting them do nothing is also a problem. We do not know what the answer is. We have no solutions and no idea how to make this better other than hire a full time tutor/babysitter/cook at home."

Mommy was secretly hoping that this would result in the offer of a tutor/babysitter/cook, but that was not to be. Mommy and daddy would be tackling this alone. 

And, as I take full credit for #5, I also offer very few solutions. But let's see how this all unfolds in a fun, almost-live blog type coverage of events that have galvanized the nation! 

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