Online learning affects more people than just the students

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Audrey Swenson

Theresa Swenson helps Zachary Swenson, a sixth grader at Ralston, navigate School Loop.

As school shifts to online learning for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester, many parents wonder how at-home learning will affect their working situation, both positively and negatively.

On the bright side, parents find that their mornings are much less chaotic, as they don’t have to drive their kids to and from school; students can simply walk five feet or so to their desks or just complete school work from their bed.

Lisa Kay, a Carlmont parent, said, “It is nice not to have to deal with all the traffic first thing in the morning, which can become hectic.”

Likewise, while some parents find that at-home learning doesn’t create much of a rift in their work lives, other parents of younger children may have to pause work at various times when trying to get their child to work on school-related responsibilities.

However, Carlmont teacher and mother of two, Kelly Redmon, struggles with working from home in general, even if her children aren’t disrupting her.

“Overall, I don’t like working at home. It really has nothing to do with my children,” Redmon said. “We live in a small two-bedroom house, and it is more than challenging to give everyone a spot to work, especially when we are all on separate Zoom meetings.”

As Redmon mentions, finding areas to work around the house becomes more difficult when everyone is working at home. Even after finding a comfortable space to work, the next challenge is being able to concentrate.

Kimberly Balsam, a Carlmont parent, said, “It is hard to focus on work as much because work and home life are happening in the same place.”

With less teacher instruction and more student-motivated learning, Balsam also worries that kids aren’t learning as much as they would be at school.

I’m concerned that they may not be learning as much.”

— Kimberly Balsam

Another prevalent concern revolves around technological difficulties. Different teachers, schools, and even districts use different online methods to get information and assignments to their students such as Canvas, School Loop, google classroom, Zoom, Class Dojo, Big Ideas, Edpuzzle, to name a few. 

Needless to say, it can be hard to keep track of all the assignments, and younger children with less technological experience may struggle to operate these websites and need some adult help or supervision.

Robert Bean, a Central Elementary parent, said, “We had some hiccups with technology and getting a schedule set up for Leo [our son]. Jennifer [my wife] and I find it difficult when Leo gets frustrated with schoolwork, which can become disruptive for Jennifer.”

Nonetheless, as families settle into this modified lifestyle, they hope to find a better structure and new ways to learn and grow from the situation at hand.